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Why is Wells Fargo’s Wealth Management Division Boss Leaving?

November 7, 2018

Jay Welker, head of Wells Fargo’s private bank as well as its wealth management division, is retiring at the end of March, the Wall Street Journal writes, citing an internal memo.

Welker had joined the firm in 1988 and then left for a competitor, returning to Wells Fargo in 2003 to head the wealth management business, the paper writes, citing an internal memo by wealth and investment management head Jon Weiss, to whom Welker reports.

“Jay has led his team in building a formidable business based on a model that centers on clients,” Weiss says in the memo cited by the Journal. Welker sent a memo to employees yesterday reiterating that it was his decision to retire and that he would work with the firm during the transition, according to the paper.

In August, the Journal reported that Wells Fargo was investigating complaints against Welker alleging gender bias.

Welker allegedly called some women “girls,” told them to put their “big girl panties on” and said women should stay home raising children, the paper wrote at the time.

When the Journal contacted Wells Fargo about the memo announcing his retirement, a spokeswoman for the firm declined comment beyond the memo but confirmed that Welker was attending an event in Phoenix yesterday “focused on women’s leadership,” the paper writes.

Welker didn’t respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

Wells Fargo’s wealth management division has had its fair share of troubles in recent years. Following the 2016 revelations that employees in the company’s retail bank unit opened millions of bogus accounts, more than 1,000 advisors have left the firm.

The wealth management division’s own sales practices are now under investigation by the Justice Department as well as the SEC. Last month, Wells Fargo settled with New York state regulators for $65 million over its alleged failure to inform investors about the reason for the success of its cross-selling practices across the bank.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Wall Street Journal article cited in this story, click here.