The Labor Department is now investigating Wells Fargo. The investigation centers on a push by the bank to have employees move their retirement funds form 401(k) plans (a low cost option for them) to individual IRA accounts (more expensive). The investigators are also focusing on whether in-house retirement plan services were pushing employees to buy in-house funds — something that generates revenue for the bank. The investigation comes one week after the bank agreed to pay $1 billion for claims of misconduct it its auto-loan and mortgage lending divisions.
The experiences of Wells Fargo and Chase and many other organizations that make the headlines for ethical and legal lapses illustrate an important principle. Once regulators find an area in which there has been unethical conduct, they and other regulators begin reviews. They generally find more stuff. When the ethical culture has gone south, there is never just one thing.