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Heckler's disruptive rowdy Wells Fargo meeting; top execs called 'frauds' | Business





DALLAS • Wells Fargo & Co. shareholders voted to elect all of the company-nominated directors during a rowdy meeting on Tuesday in which more than two boxes were kicked out for heckling executives and board members. [14659002] Though protesters and activists dominated the meeting, the shareholder vote reflected growing investor confidence in management. All the directors were elected with no less than 95 percent approval, according to the preliminary tally. A year ago, directors were elected with 89 percent approval.

The majority of the San Francisco-based banks 1[ads1]2 board members joined Wells Fargo after the bank became mired in scandal in late 2016 for opening potentially millions of unauthorized accounts. Board Chair Betsy Duke and interim Chief Executive Allen Parker faced questions about why investors should vote for the five directors who were at the bank of the wrongdoing.

Last month, proxy research firm About 15 activists were kicked out of the meeting for interrupting Parker's remarks, as part of coordinated demonstrations at the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America. Parker had repeatedly asked them to wait for the question-and-answer segment before having security evict them.

“One of the wonderful things about shareholder democracy is that we have meetings like this,” said Parker as the activists were escorted out

Bruce Marks NACA CEO, who has a history of protesting at bank shareholder meetings, assisted members buy individual shares so they could attend the meeting, he told Reuters.

Bank of America Corp.'s shareholder meeting on Wednesday to thank the bank for committing billions of dollars for low- and moderate-income mortgages.

The demonstrators spoke about fair-landing practices, African American homeownership and fake accounts. Wells Fargo's annual meetings have drawn protesters every year since its fake account scandal in 2016. Since the initial revelations, regulators and the bank have uncovered problems in each of the bank's primary business segments.

The scandals at the fourth-largest US lender have been involved in billions of fines and penalties and claimed two CEOs after Tim Sloan announced his resignation last month.

Shareholders also approved executive pay and other management proposals. Two shareholder proposals were rejected for transparency about incentive pay and closing of the median gender pay gap.

The bank employs more than 5,100 people in St. Louis where its brokerage unit, Wells Fargo Advisors, is based. / *



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