Two months after news broke of gender-bias complaints at Wells Fargo’s wealth management business, the head of both that unit and private banking at the embattled bank is set to step down.
Jay Welker will retire at the end of March, Wells Fargo confirmed Wednesday, one day after the development was reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Welker has been private bank president and head of the wealth management division since 2003. He joined Wells Fargo in 1988, but left to work for U.S. Trust (bought by Bank of America in 2000) in 1997, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Dozens of women employed at Wells Fargo have been interviewed, and at least one human-resources complaint has been filed against Welker, the Journal reported in August; some women with the wealth unit said the retiring executive frequently referred to them as “girls” and told them to put on “big-girl panties.”
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As for other issues, more details on how aggressive sales goals may have caused problems for clients in Wells Fargo’s wealth management unit were highlighted in a July Journal report.
Financial advisors encouraged investors to move funds into products in order to generate extra fees, more revenue and larger bonuses, the paper said, after speaking with some 25 former employees and reviewing bank documents.
Wells Fargo Private Bank clients, for instance, were urged to put their money into alternative-investment funds owned by the bank.
(Check out Investment Advisor magazine’s cover story, When Will Wells Fargo’s Scandals End?)