Wells Fargo to Pay $32M in Adviser Gender Bias Suit

A federal judge is likely to approve a $32 million settlement against Wells Fargo & Co. in a suit brought by female financial advisers who claim they were treated unfairly because of their gender, Reuters reports.

A lawyer for the financial advisers told Reuters that the judge indicated she is satisfied with material terms of the accord but wants to review technical details.  

According to the news report, the settlement also requires Wells Fargo to implement a four-year program to strengthen discrimination training; improve efforts to promote female financial advisers; and help ensure that more lucrative customer accounts are allocated fairly, court records showed. Wells Fargo agreed to oversight by an outside monitor.  

Three female financial advisers at the brokerage unit of the former Wachovia Corp had sued Wells Fargo in September 2009, alleging discrimination dating to 2003. Wells Fargo bought Wachovia on December 31, 2008.  

The accord also covers various workers at brokerage units of Wachovia, A.G. Edwards Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc. Wachovia took control of Prudential’s brokerage unit in 2003, and bought A.G. Edwards in 2007.   

Reuters said the lawyer indicated the average payout would be about $18,000 per individual, after accounting for about $9.6 million of legal fees and some monitoring costs.