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SEC Slaps $7 Mln Fine On Wells Fargo For Anti-Money Laundering Related Violations

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Friday said it is charging advisors at Wells Fargo with anti-money laundering related violations. Wells Fargo Advisors, the St. Louis-based broker-dealer, has agreed to pay $7 million to settle the charges.

The regulator is charging the advisors for failing to file at least 34 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in a timely manner between April 2017 and October 2021.

According to the SEC's order, due to Wells Fargo Advisors' deficient implementation and failure to test a new version of its internal anti-money laundering (AML) transaction monitoring and alert system adopted in January 2019, the system failed to reconcile the different country codes used to monitor foreign wire transfers. As a result, Wells Fargo Advisors did not timely file at least 25 SARs related to suspicious transactions in its customers' brokerage accounts involving wire transfers to or from foreign countries that it determined to be at a high or moderate risk for money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illegal money movements.

"When SEC registrants like Wells Fargo Advisors fail to comply with their AML obligations, they put the investing public at risk because they deprive regulators of timely information about possible money laundering, terrorist financing, or other illegal money movements," said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "Through this enforcement action, we are not only holding Wells Fargo Advisors accountable, but also sending a loud and clear message to other registrants that AML obligations are sacrosanct."

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