Wells Fargo says it is looking into problematic fee calculations in its wealth management unit. It is also reviewing whether some referrals and recommendations affecting 401(k) rollovers were “inappropriate,” according to Thursday’s 10-K filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.
The issue, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, concerns overcharges and incorrect fees charged for some fiduciary and custody accounts, according to the firm’s latest 10-K report filed with the SEC on Thursday.
As part of its overall review of its operations, being made at the request of the federal government, Wells Fargo is also looking into “whether there have been inappropriate referrals or recommendations, including with respect to rollovers for 401(k) plan participants, certain alternative investments, or referrals of brokerage customers to the company’s investment and fiduciary services business.”
The Department of Justice reportedly is involved in the investigation, according the WSJ.
The news comes one month after the Federal Reserve barred the bank from growing. The developments also are tied to other issues that have plagued the bank for the past 18 months or so concerning fraudulent sales practices within its retail bank.
The bank has about 14,500 financial advisors in its wealth unit.
“Just when you think it is over, it is not — there is always more to the story,” said recruiter Danny Sarch after the Fed’s move was announced.
Wells Fargo says it “has determined that there have been instances of incorrect fees being applied to certain assets and accounts, resulting in overcharges. These issues include the incorrect setup and maintenance in the system of record of the values associated with certain assets.
Reviews of its systems, operations and accounts are being made to undercover both “the extent of any assets and accounts affected, and root cause analyses are being performed with the assistance of third parties.”
The bank says that this process is “in its preliminary stages and is focused initially on assets that are not publicly traded.”
“Our top priority is to rebuild trust with all of our stakeholders. The disclosures in the 10-K filing reflect our continued commitment to transparency, even when all of the information or the final outcome of a matter may not be known just yet,” Wells Fargo said in a statement.
“We are making significant progress in our work to identify and fix any issues, make things right, and build a better, stronger company.”
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