When Wells Fargo decided to kick out its overseas client, many American (and non-American) clients were surprised. Those who had started with the brokerage firm years earlier discovered that they were no longer welcome. Regardless of the size of the account, overseas clients were told to move their assets elsewhere.
In their letter to clients titled, “Wells Fargo… decision to exit international account relationships,” the brokerage firm explained that it had “made the decision to simplify its overall business by focusing on its core business segments, namely servicing clients who reside in the United States.” They explained further that all of their “consumer-focused lines of business… are also engaged in a coordinated exit of their international account relationships.”


For many clients, the fact that Wells Fargo wants to simplify is own business is not comforting. However, although the change may be startling, there is a simple solution to the problem.

What is the solution for overseas clients of Wells Fargo?

Although some U.S. brokerage firms have decided to quit the international market, others focus all their energy there. In fact, having been a cross-border financial advisor for almost thirty years, I have always helped overseas clients with their U.S. accounts. Clients of firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan, who have received a similar letter to the one that Wells Fargo sent out, easily solve their problem by working with international advisors who specialize in overseas clientele.

The first step – an introductory phone call

Since not all advisors work with all types of clients, the first step is to contact the firm, explain your situation, and show them copies of your statements. When we first hear from people, we spend a few minutes on the phone to discover what sort of investors they are. If they are people who are looking for long-term growth, don’t want to spend day and night watching their accounts, and like the financial planning method of strategic investing, we are usually a good fit. If the clients want to be day traders, or if they view investing as just another casino, then we won’t take their accounts. In the first call, we ask the clients a lot of questions to determine if we are a good fit. In fact, that’s how our company got our name, Profile. We look to get a good profile of our clients to make sure we understand what they want and need.

The second step – review of the statements

After our conversation, the clients send us copies of their statements to review. By looking at the monthly account statements, we can determine the types of accounts that the clients have (brokerage, IRA, joint accounts, trusts, etc.), and we also get a sense of their investment style.

The third step – account paperwork and transfer forms

Don’t worry, these days almost all of the paperwork is digital. You won’t be overwhelmed with papers. After you fill out an online form, we’ll get the paperwork in order and send it to you to sign electronically. No need to print or fax or mail anything. Just click where necessary, send copies of your ID and proof of address, and we can get the process rolling. You will also sign a transfer form (known in the industry as an ACAT form, “Automated Customer Account Transfer Service”). This will allow us to contact the Wells Fargo back office and instruct them to move all of your investments to your new brokerage account.

The fourth step – confirm the securities all moved correctly

After we initiate the transfer of the securities, we watch for them to arrive and we compare to make sure everything came through properly. Your new account will continue to be held in the United States, just like your old one. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. Accounts carried by Pershing LLC., Member NYSE/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation.

The fifth step – care for the portfolio

This last step is an ongoing process. Once you become a client, we will work with you to make sure that your portfolio makes sense given who you are, your tolerance for risk, and your goals.

I got the letter to overseas clients from Wells Fargo (or some other firm).
What should I do right now?

The best thing to do if you want a simple solution to getting kicked out by your brokerage firm is to get in touch with us. Email me directly: doug@profile-financial.com.

Let’s start a conversation and see how quickly and easily you can transition from one firm to another.