The roller coaster ride continues for Wells Fargo & Co. as the company wrapped up a volatile week by telling employees it was reversing a midweek decision to cut 401(k) plan matching contributions for high earners.
The memo to employees, including more than 12,000 financial advisers, seemingly quashed an announcement last Wednesday that explained Wells Fargo’s revamped benefits program would eliminate the retirement plan match of up to 6% of salary for employees who make more than $250,000 annually.
The Friday memo, obtained by InvestmentNews, states: “We’ve recently announced a number of changes to our health care benefits and 401(k) plan employer contributions U.S. employees.”
“After additional review and consideration, we’ve made the decision to continue the company’s 6% matching contribution for all 401(k) plan-eligible employees, with no compensation limit applied to eligibility. We believe this is the right thing to do.” Other benefit changes remain in place and take effect in January.
The dueling memos coincided with reports Wells Fargo is looking for a buyer for its $607 billion asset management unit, which could fetch more than $3 billion and help shore up its balance sheet.
ADVISER COUNT FALLS
The potential sale of the asset management unit comes just a week after Wells Fargo announced in its earnings report that its adviser count had fallen by more than 800 over the past 12 months.
“While this change represents retirements and some natural adviser attrition, it also includes the displacement of a sizable group of salary and bonus advisers as a result of the company’s work to become as efficient as we can,” spokesperson Shea Leordeanu wrote in an email at the time.
Compared to the second quarter, Wells Fargo reported 390 fewer advisers at the end of September.
Leordeanu did not respond to a request for comment for this story beyond sending a copy of the Friday memo.
— Bruce Kelly contributed to this report.
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