Wells Fargo Settles with SEC for Charging Excessive Advisory Fees

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network LLC (collectively, Wells Fargo) for overcharging more than 10,900 investment advisory accounts more than $26.8 million in advisory fees. Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $35 million civil penalty to settle the SEC’s charges.

According to the SEC’s order, certain financial advisers from Wells Fargo and its predecessor firms agreed to reduce the firms’ standard, pre-set advisory fees for certain clients and made handwritten or typed changes on the clients’ investment advisory agreements that reflected the reduced fees at the time their accounts were opened. However, in certain instances, the account processing employees at Wells Fargo and its predecessor firms failed to enter the agreed-upon reduced advisory fee rates into the firms’ billing systems when setting up the clients’ accounts. Additionally, Wells Fargo failed to adopt and implement written compliance policies and procedures reasonably designed to determine whether the billing systems it adopted contained accurate data and to prevent overbilling of the clients that the firm acquired through its predecessor firms and certain of its own new clients. As a result, Wells Fargo and its predecessor firms overcharged certain clients who opened accounts prior to 2014 for advisory fees through the end of December 2022.

Source: SEC.gov | Wells Fargo Settles with SEC for Charging Excessive Advisory Fees