David Carroll, who retired as head of Wells Fargo’s wealth and investment management division last July after 38 years with the company, has come out in defense of the business unit following investigations from regulators into its sales practices, according to the Charlotte Observer. “I’m proud of what we accomplished and feel good about the integrity of the business,” Carroll told the Observer. “And I feel really good as a meaningful shareholder of where [Wells Fargo CEO] Tim Sloan is taking the company.” The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice are investigating the wealth management division’s sales practices. And most recently, Bloomberg reported that advisors were steering clients towards investments that made the firm and its employees more money but may not have been in the clients’ best interests.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged two Texas companies and their principals for allegedly running a $2.4 million Ponzi scheme and a related $1.4 million fraud. The SEC alleges that from 2010 to 2017, Clifton E. Stanley lured at least 30 elderly victims to invest $2.4 million on their retirement savings through his retirement planning and real estate investment business, The Lifepay Group. Instead, the SEC charges he used the money for country club memberships, daily living expenses, travel and entertainment. Stanley and Michael E. Watts then allegedly made empty promises to convince a group of elderly victims to invest $1.4 million in another company they controlled, SMDRE, to help keep the Lifepay scheme afloat, the SEC says.
Buckhead Investment Partners has rebranded itself into BIP Wealth. The Atlanta-based RIA oversees more than $850 million in assets for its clients. Formed in 2007, the firm has 24 employees, including 11 financial advisors. It focuses on clients with more than $1 million in investible assets by bringing family-style office investing to the mass affluent. “The changing wealth-management landscape means that our clients are looking for an investment firm which not only manages their wealth, but helps create it,” said Bill Harris, co-founder of BIP Wealth. “By repositioning our team as BIP Wealth, we’re emphasizing our commitment to meaningfully improve the lives of our clients. After all, we believe the true meaning of wealth represents more than financial security. That’s why BIP Wealth focuses on a holistic approach to wealth creation and investment with an emphasis on highly personalized services.”