Wells Fargo Sued by FX Trader Claiming Wrongful Termination

(Bloomberg) -- The former head of Wells Fargo & Co.’s foreign-exchange trading group sued the bank for wrongful termination, alleging his attempts to alert managers to abusive sales practices over more than a decade ultimately cost him his job.

Simon Fowles claims Wells Fargo’s compensation plan in the foreign-exchange sales department “created strong incentives for foreign-currency sales team members to make false and misleading representations to customers.” The complaint, filed Thursday in San Francisco state court, is the latest in a string of lawsuits against the company stemming from its retail banking division, where quotas resulted in the creation of millions of fake accounts.

A spokesman for the San Francisco-based bank declined to comment.

Fowles, who climbed the management chain from 1996 to 2017, alleges he made multiple complaints to his own managers about potential fraud and regulatory violations. In September 2017 he told his bosses of plans to inform the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, but was fired “just weeks before” his meeting with auditors.

A federal investigation into Wells Fargo’s foreign-exchange sales practices is ongoing.

Fowles is one of four traders fired by the bank in October over what it called an issue related to a “transaction for a single client.” Their departure “was not related to issues involving market collusion, front running or market manipulation,” the company said after their termination.

Fowles argues his firing was directly related to behavior he was attempting to make public.

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