San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co.’s board of directors is calling on shareholders to reject the voting recommendation of proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), which advised shareholders to vote against 12 of the bank’s 15 directors at its upcoming annual general meeting on April 25.
“The extreme and unprecedented ISS voting recommendation on directors fails to recognize the active engagement of the board and the substantial actions it has already taken to strengthen oversight and increase accountability at all levels of Wells Fargo, including important improvements to corporate governance,” the board says in a statement.
The bank has been under fire after it was revealed that employees opened millions of phantom accounts in customers’ names in order to meet sales targets. The scandal has resulted in several changes at the board and executive levels, the introduction of new compensation models, and action to reduce the pay of executives with responsibility for the improper sales practices, along with regulatory action and class-action lawsuits.
The board notes that a report on its independent investigation into the matter will be issued shortly: “We urge our shareholders to disregard ISS’s director voting recommendations and judge for themselves the findings of the investigation and the strong actions the board has already taken.”