Wells Fargo reportedly ends investigation of gender bias in wealth management unit

Wealth management head Jay Welker, a focus of many complaints, announced plans to retire on Tuesday

Nov 9, 2018 @ 4:54 pm

By Ryan W. Neal

Wells Fargo's investigation into alleged gender bias within its wealth management division is reportedly over.

When asked for confirmation of a report by The Wall Street Journal that the firm concluded its investigation, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Kathleen Leary neither confirmed nor denied the report.

In a statement, Ms. Leary said Wells Fargo takes any allegation seriously and that the concerns raised are "thoroughly and objectively investigated, while taking measures to protect confidentiality."

"Once an investigation is complete, we are committed to taking any appropriate action," she added in the statement.

What an appropriate action may look like is unclear. Ms. Leary said the firm does not comment on any actions taken in any investigation.

Jonathan Weiss, Wells Fargo senior executive vice president of wealth and investment management, said "there is unequivocally no gender bias" in a call with some managers, according to the Journal.

Wells Fargo had already been investigating discrimination charges for months when an August report initially detailed discontent among female executives in the bank's wealth and investment management businesses.

Jay Welker, head of wealth management and the private bank at Wells Fargo, was a focus of many complaints. On Tuesday, he announced plans to retire at the end of March.

"At Wells Fargo, we value and promote diversity in all aspects of our business, and I take this very seriously," Mr. Weiss said in a statement to InvestmentNews. "If team members have an experience that is not consistent with our values, I encourage them to raise their hand, or contact me directly."

When asked how Wells Fargo is promoting diversity, Ms. Leary said there is a council within the wealth management division, and similar councils in other channels, to ensure that diversity and inclusion are valued throughout the business.

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