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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
New Scandals Break Out at Wells Fargo
by Howard Haykin
Still reeling from, and consumed by, the 2016 fake accounts scandal and numerous instances of misconduct that subsequently were unearthed, Wells Fargo now is investigating 2 new areas of alleged violations: (i) false expense reports by investment bankers; and, (ii) gender bias in wealth management.
MEAL REIMBURSEMENT VIOLATIONS. Wells Fargo has fired or suspended at least a dozen investment bank employees, and is investigating dozens more, who reportedly doctored receipts to get the company to pay for ineligible evening meals.
It’s reported that the individuals in question – from analysts to managing directors in the bank’s New York, San Francisco and Charlotte, NC offices – regularly ordered dinner through online delivery services and then changed the time of emailed receipts so as to qualify the purchases for reimbursement from the bank.
A spokesperson for the bank: “We became aware that certain Wells Fargo Securities team members were not complying with after-hours meal reimbursement policies, after they were brought to the attention of leaders by concerned team members. We took action to address the issues and we continue to investigate the matter.”
The investigation continues with bank now investigating expense reports going back at least 9 months.
GENDER BIAS IN THE WEALTH DIVISION. Wells Fargo has been engaged in a months-long investigation into concerns raised by female executives about gender bias in the bank's wealth management division – in particular, the lack of women in senior roles. The executives told the Wall Street Journal that qualified women had recently been passed over for top roles in favor of males. Of 45 regional managing directors at Wells Fargo, just 12 are women. Those 45 report to seven senior managing directors, all men.
Additionally, it’s reported that a complaint was filed against Jay Welker, president of the bank’s private bank and head of wealth management. Welker is said to have told some executives that "women should be at home taking care of their children," and he’s also accused of often calling women "girls" or telling them to put their "big girl panties on."
A spokesperson for the bank: “We value all of our Wells Fargo team members, and we take seriously any allegation raised by a team member, or against a team member. … At Wells Fargo we are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our business, which we believe is essential to engaging our team members, customers, communities and shareholders."