Massachusetts reportedly has begun an investigation concerning whether Wells Fargo Advisors engaged in unsuitable recommendations, inappropriate referrals, and other actions related to its sales of certain investment products to customers. Recently, Wells Fargo disclosed that it is evaluating whether its personnel and registered representatives may have made inappropriate recommendations and referrals concerning 401(K) rollovers and alternative investments.
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin said the state would examine Wells Fargo’s own internal probe and wants to ensure that any Massachusetts investors who were impacted by “unsuitable recommendations” would be “made whole.” He noted that while moving investors toward wealth management accounts brings “more revenues to firms,” these accounts are “not suitable for all investors.”
Industry observers say that major stock brokerage firms have increasingly steered customers to accounts with recurring management fees based on a percentage of assets under management, rather than transaction-based commissions. As Barron’s magazine reports, referring clients to managed accounts tends to earn fee-based advisors significantly more over the long term.