All African Americans who are or were employed as Financial Advisors or licensed Financial Advisor Trainees by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, and who worked in the United States in the Private Client Group or in the Wells Fargo Advisors bank brokerage channel at any time between September 4, 2009 and December 31, 2016.
Each case will be assessed individually based on alleged race discrimination, financial losses, and emotional distress suffered
In addition to monetary compensation Wells Fargo has agreed to take the following measures for the next four years:
No Mandatory Arbitration or Class Action Waiver
For the duration of the Settlement, Wells Fargo will not seek to enforce any mandatory arbitration or class action waiver agreements against Settlement Class Members for claims of race discrimination in employment.
Elimination of PCG Financial Advisor Training Costs Obligations
Wells Fargo will end the practice of seeking to obligate “New Financial Advisors” or Financial Advisor Trainees for any cost of their training, a practice challenged in the lawsuit Williams v. Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Case No. 14-cv-01981 (N.D. Ill.). Wells Fargo will end any efforts to collect such training costs.
Wells Fargo will appoint a person whose primary responsibility will be the recruitment of African American Financial Advisors and Financial Advisor Trainees. Wells Fargo will give such recruits the opportunity to speak with a current African American Financial Advisor.
Financial Advisor Coaches
Wells Fargo will create two Coach positions whose primary responsibility will be to work with African American Financial Advisors and Financial Advisor Trainees, to assist such Financial Advisors and Financial Advisor Trainees in the areas of networking and building relationships, maximizing resources to help increase productivity, and business and career development. The Coaches will periodically provide feedback to the Leadership Teams established by the Settlement.
Wells Fargo will create a private client group (“PCG”) Leadership Team and a wealth brokerage services (“WBS”) Leadership Team, comprised of senior business leaders within the respective business channels, including African American leaders. The Leadership Teams will explore ideas and initiatives designed to increase the representation, productivity, retention, and teaming opportunities of African American Financial Advisors and to address the assignment of store locations for WBS Financial Advisors. The Leadership Teams will be provided a diversity presentation by a highly regarded expert, Professor Frank Dobbin, and will receive input and feedback from Financial Advisor Focus Groups and the Coaches established in this Settlement. The Leadership Teams will meet at least semi-annually and will review data, reports, and analysis regarding Financial Advisor diversity efforts, progress, and results.
Wells Fargo will establish a PCG Focus Group and a WBS Focus Group consisting of African American Financial Advisors and Trainees which shall meet at least semi-annually for the purpose of providing feedback to and dialogue with the Leadership Teams in the areas described in Section E above. Each Focus Group will have no more than 15 members, with a cross-section of length of service, production, and geographic location. Financial Advisors who will serve as members of the Focus Groups will be selected by Wells Fargo senior management, including 3 or a maximum of 20% of the total members to be selected by a random selection process. Each Focus Group will include at least one Class Representative, so long as at least one remains employed as an FA and agrees to serve in this role.
Business Development Fund
Wells Fargo will establish a Business Development Fund that will be available to African American PCG and WBS Financial Advisors (“Eligible Financial Advisors”) to fund business development events or activities, which will be capped at $500,000 over the four years of the Settlement. Eligible Financial Advisors will submit business development proposals to their managers who, working with the Coaches, will determine whether the proposal satisfies the criteria established by Wells Fargo for use of the Business Development Fund.
Wells Fargo will encourage diverse teams and will develop and maintain a database or system that stores business profile information for Financial Advisors and Financial Advisor Trainees who are interested in joining or forming a Team. Participation in the database will be optional for Financial Advisors who are interested in teaming. The Team Database may also be utilized by the Teams Department within each channel to help facilitate teaming discussions and opportunities. Wells Fargo will inform Financial Advisors that the decision to team or not to team with particular Financial Advisors may not be made on the basis of the individual’s gender, race, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic.
New Manager Selection
Senior Management job opportunities will be posted on the Company’s internal job bank for a minimum of five business days, excluding selection decisions made as part of a restructuring, consolidation, or reorganization. Wells Fargo will commit to having a diverse pool of candidates for posted Senior Management positions, where possible. Wells Fargo will also maintain its Branch Manager Assessment Center Program, which gives participants a formal process for development toward becoming non-producing complex managers. Wells Fargo will encourage a diverse pool of applicants for the Program and a diverse slate of evaluators.
Assignment of WBS Financial Advisors to Banking Stores
The WBS Leadership Team, with consultation from the Focus Group, will establish a process for WBS Financial Advisors to have the opportunity to indicate on a periodic basis an interest in a select number of stores to which they would be interested in moving should a Financial Advisor position become vacant. Before making store assignments or filling store vacancies, WBS management will review the store interest selections and consider the Financial Advisors who have indicated interest in that particular store as part of the pool for the assignment or vacancy, provided that the Financial Advisor meets minimum criteria. WBS management will retain the discretion to make store assignments or fill store vacancies based on business needs and in the best interest of WBS’s clients. The Coaches also will have access to the database to assist in development discussions with Financial Advisors.
For experienced Financial Advisor recruits and Trainees, WBS will provide information on the number of affluent households for the particular store to which the Financial Advisor would be assigned, along with appropriate disclaimers that store assignments may change at the discretion of WBS management and/or in the best interests of clients.
Monitoring, Reporting and Meeting with Class Counsel
For the duration of the Settlement, Wells Fargo will meet with Class Counsel on an annual basis to discuss and confirm the Firm’s compliance with the programmatic relief. Wells Fargo will provide information demonstrating the progress made with regard to the programmatic relief and to otherwise discuss equal opportunities for African Americans. Wells Fargo will also set forth any new programs and policies that were implemented to increase the representation and success of African American Financial Advisors and Financial Advisor Trainees and available information regarding the efficacy of those programs.
Proof of Purchase
Lance W. Slaughter, et al. v. Wells Fargo Advisors LLC,Case No. 1:13-cv-06368District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
The Settlement resolves all claims of race employment discrimination and retaliation, including those brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. This Settlement also resolves any and all individual, non-class claims the Named Plaintiffs made or could have made in the Third Amended Complaint or in their EEOC charges. Wells Fargo denies that it discriminated against African American FAs and FA Trainees, that its policies had a discriminatory effect on African American FAs and FA Trainees, or that it otherwise did anything wrong. The Court has not made and will not make any finding or determination on the merits of this matter. By entering into the proposed Settlement, Wells Fargo does not admit any wrongdoing.