Wells Fargo Set to Underwrite Canadian Debt-Security Offerings

Jan 10, 2014 3:45 pm ET

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co., the U.S. bank that’s expanding internationally, will soon be able to manage debt-security offerings in Canada as it builds out its underwriting business.

The bank’s registered investment dealer in Canada, Wells Fargo Securities Canada Ltd., will have the ability to handle the underwriting, Jessica Ong, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based lender, said today in an e-mail. Ong declined to say when the bank could start managing bond sales.

Wells Fargo has been expanding in investment banking after acquiring a securities business in the 2008 purchase of Wachovia Corp. The unit, run by John Shrewsberry, saw investment-banking market share advance to 5.7 percent through the first nine months of 2013 from 4.1 percent in 2009, Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said in December. The lender was No. 8 in U.S. debt underwriting last year, Bloomberg data show.

“From an investor point of view we certainly welcome new entrants willing to commit capital to furthering the depth and breadth of the Canadian market,” Andrew Torres, chief investment officer at Toronto-based hedge fund Lawrence Park Capital Partners and a former debt capital markets banker, said in an e-mail.

Wells Fargo will compete against firms headquartered in Canada, the top five of which managed 85 percent of the nation’s corporate bond offerings in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The lender’s securities unit has offices in Calgary and Toronto, according to its website. Wells Fargo isn’t planning to open more offices or hire employees at this time, Ong said. The bank has always been able to manage U.S. bond sales for Canadian clients, Ong said.

Wells Fargo has won regulatory approval and needs to conduct some internal reviews before it will be ready to manage its first offering, Ong said in a phone interview. Canada’s government already allows the lender to offer commercial and corporate banking services, equipment-financing and capital- finance capabilities.

--With assistance from Doug Alexander in Toronto. Editors: Dan Reichl, Rick Green