Banking

FINRA wants to hear from ex-Wells Fargo employees who have concerns about firings

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is asking former Wells Fargo bank employees whose securities registrations were terminated to get in touch with the securities regulator if they have concerns about how Wells Fargo reported their terminations.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is asking former Wells Fargo bank employees whose securities registrations were terminated to get in touch with the securities regulator if they have concerns about how Wells Fargo reported their terminations. Bloomberg

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is asking former Wells Fargo bank employees whose securities registrations were terminated to get in touch with the regulator if they have concerns about how Wells Fargo reported their firings.

Last month, three Democratic senators raised questions about whether the San Francisco-based bank retaliated against whistleblowers by filing defamatory reports with the regulator. Wells submitted over 200 of the reports to FINRA for employees who were fired for actions related to a fake accounts scandal that gained national attention this fall.

On Friday, FINRA said news reports have indicated that some former Wells employees have raised concerns that they did not receive a copy of their Form U5 termination notice in a timely fashion or that their Form U5 contained inaccurate information.

FINRA is asking former Wells Fargo employees with such concerns to call (800) 334-0668 or send an email to U5review@finra.org.

Wells Fargo has said it fired about 5,300 employees for opening unauthorized accounts between 2011 and early 2016. A subset of those employees were also registered with Wells Fargo’s brokerage arm, requiring the company to file a Form U5 with FINRA upon termination.

The FINRA inquiry is the latest investigation related to the bank’s sales practices since regulators fined the bank $185 million in September over allegations that its employees potentially opened as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts to meet aggressive sales goals.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick declined to comment Friday on the FINRA announcement, but said if any former employees have concerns with their termination or their U5 filings they should get in touch with the bank as well.

“Wells Fargo is required to file U5 forms whenever a FINRA-registered team member leaves the company so that the industry is aware of the circumstances,” Messick said. “We work to make sure those forms are accurate and fair, and in all cases a former employee can make comments on their U5 or request that we review the language.”

Wells has previously said it has “zero tolerance” for retaliation against employees, adding the bank is “investigating claims regarding these matters and doing an end-to-end review” of its ethics hotline.

Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker

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