Wells Fargo fined $1 million by Finra over client reports

Firm failed to enforce supervisory systems for the use of consolidated reports generated by their reps, regulator claimed

Dec 6, 2016 @ 1:04 pm

By Bruce Kelly

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has fined Wells Fargo $1 million for failing to have in place reasonable supervisory systems to monitor advisers' creation of consolidated reports for clients.

The Finra fine and settlement disclosed Monday cited Wells Fargo Advisors, which is now known as Wells Fargo Clearing Services, and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network for failing to enforce supervisory systems “for the use of consolidated reports generated by their registered representatives through a particular application that the firms made available” to brokers between June 2009 and June 2015.

Consolidated reports are documents provided by a broker to a customer that combines account information regarding a customer's financial holdings, regardless of where those assets are held, according to Finra. The regulator's rules require consolidated reports, which are communications with the public, to be clear, accurate, and not misleading.

(More: Wells Fargo to keep commission retirement accounts under DOL)

The broker-dealers “failed to review the content of the consolidated reports generated using the application, including customized values for assets and accounts held away from the firms,” according to the settlement. “Further, the firms failed to provide a mechanism allowing their representatives to designate which application reports were actually provided to customers.”

The two Wells Fargo firms “could not distinguish between draft application reports and reports that were completed and sent to customers, which should have been subjected to the firms' supervisory systems designed to review customer communications,” according to the settlement.

Wells Fargo advisers' generated more than five million such reports during the cited time period using the company application, according to the settlement.

The broker-dealers neither admitted or denied the findings of the settlement.

(See: Finra fines Morgan Stanley $1.5 million for failing to deliver fund prospectuses )

“As part of this settlement, Wells Fargo Advisors has implemented and continues to implement new supervisory procedures and guidance with respect to supervising external assets and consolidated reports,” said company spokeswoman Helen Bow.

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