May 23, 2012 / 1:03 PM / in 7 years

Wells Fargo names head for ultra-wealthy business

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wells Fargo (WFC.N) has tapped its own private equity veteran, Joseph Colianni, to lead the banking division for the company’s new Abbot Downing family-wealth business catering to the richest families in the United States.

Colianni, who has been with the company since 2001, has taken on the lead role overseeing the banking needs of Wells’ ultra-wealthy clients.

“Our clients’ needs are increasingly complex,” Colianni said in an interview, adding, “We want to create a culture that understands that... From Day One, we’re working with the customer at the table and being creative with our solutions.”

Abbot Downing is the bank’s new name for the Family Wealth unit which it has combined with its Lowry Hill boutique subsidiary. The combined business, which opened April 2, has $32.9 billion in client assets under management.

The unit caters to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families with $50 million or more in investable assets and has just under 600 client relationships, including multiple families across generations.

Colianni was previously a managing director for Wells’ Financial Sponsors Portfolio Management Group, which finances leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions and recapitalizations.

Prior to joining Wells, Colianni worked for nine years at RBC Capital Markets, where he was a principal in investment banking. He also previously served in leadership roles at Deloitte Consulting LLP and Charter Westbrook Hospital.

Colianni is now responsible for overseeing checking and foreign exchange services, in addition to treasury management services and interest rate risk management. Abbot Downing’s banking staff has 36 people across the United States.

“Our clients have daily contact with the client services team, so we really develop long-term personal relationships,” Colianni said.

The group works with clients on custom lending strategies including specialized loans for investments such as aircraft and art, business succession financing, capital for commercial real estate, and tailored mortgages.

Editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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