Wells Fargo Hires Law Firm for Advice on Clawbacks, WSJ Reports

Wells Fargo & Co. hired a law firm to advise the board on potential pay clawbacks as the bank grapples with the fallout from a scandal over the opening of accounts without customers’ approval, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The lender retained Robert Mundheim, a lawyer with Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York, to help the board determine whether to claw back pay from Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf, Chief Operating Officer Tim Sloan and Carrie Tolstedt, the former head of community banking, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The law firm had helped JPMorgan Chase & Co. during its so-called London Whale trading debacle, which resulted in losses of more than $6.2 billion.

Authorities including the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $185 million on Sept. 8 for potentially opening about 2 million deposit and credit-card accounts without authorization. The scandal escalated this week, when Senate Banking Committee members including Democrat Elizabeth Warren urged Stumpf to return compensation and resign.

Mary Eshet, a spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, declined to comment on the newspaper report. Mundheim wasn’t immediately available to comment, according to his office.

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