Daily Archives: December 10, 2016

Wells Fargo moves to begin internal investigation into fake accounts

After the scandal broke, Wells Fargo’s board of directors said that it planned to launch an internal investigation to determine how the fake account issue festered for as long as it did.

Now, according to a report from Reuters, Wells Fargo is ready to begin that internal investigation, naming four board members to a committee that will lead the investigation.

From Reuters:

Wells Fargo & Co Chairman Stephen Sanger and Vice Chair Elizabeth Duke have been named to a four-member committee that will lead an internal investigation into the bank’s recent sales scandal, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Rounding out the special committee’s leadership, the person said, are Enrique Hernandez, chair of the board of directors’ risk committee, and Donald James, a director who sits on the board’s finance and risk committees.

Read on.

Fired Wells Fargo Brokers Asked to Contact Finra With Concerns

The brokerage industry’s self-regulator has asked employees fired by Wells Fargo & Co. and stripped of their securities registrations to come forward if they have concerns over their treatment, the latest sign of growing scrutiny on the bank.

The request from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, comes as lawmakers question whether Wells Fargo wrongfully fired employees who pushed back on questionable sales practices and sometimes mischaracterized their behavior on their industry records.

In response to an inquiry by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), and Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), Finra has said that more than 600 Wells Fargo employees fired during the five-year period that encompassed the bank’s cross-selling scandal had received termination filings known as Form U5s. Such forms document the reasons for the dismissal of brokerage employees, and negative justifications can hinder an adviser from gaining employment elsewhere in the industry.

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Ex-Cantor Fitzgerald mortgage bond trader indicted in U.S. for fraud

A former Cantor Fitzgerald trader has been indicted on charges that he defrauded investors by lying about the price of mortgage bond transactions he handled for them after the financial crisis, U.S. prosecutors said on Friday.

David Demos, 35, was charged with securities fraud in an indictment filed in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, becoming the latest trader to face charges for cheating customers on prices of mortgage-backed securities.

Demos, of Westport, Connecticut, appeared in court on Friday for an arraignment. In a joint statement afterwards, his legal team, which includes lawyers Peter Chavkin and Stanley Twardy, said Demos would fight the charges.

“Mr. Demos denies the charges made against him, including the allegations that his communications and negotiations with counterparties were ‘material,'” his lawyers said in the statement. “He intends to vigorously defend himself.”

Prosecutors said Demos, a trader and managing director at Cantor Fitzgerald from November 2011 to February 2013, defrauded customers by fraudulently inflating the price at which the company could buy residential mortgage-backed securities.

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Portland’s adoption of CEO pay inequality tax

Moving to address income inequality on a local level, the City Council in Portland, Ore., voted on Wednesday to impose a surtax on companies whose chief executives earn more than 100 times the median pay of their rank-and-file workers.

The surcharge, which Portland officials said is the first in the nation linked to chief executives’ pay, would be added to the city’s business tax for those companies that exceed the pay threshold. Currently, roughly 550 companies that generate significant income on sales in Portland pay the business tax.

Under the new rule, companies must pay an additional 10 percent in taxes if their chief executives receive compensation greater than 100 times the median pay of all their employees. Companies with pay ratios greater than 250 times the median will face a 25 percent surcharge.

The tax will take effect next year, after the Securities and Exchange Commission begins to require public companies to calculate and disclose how their chief executives’ compensation compares with their workers’ median pay. The S.E.C. rule was required under the Dodd-Frank legislation enacted in 2010.

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