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GOVERNANCE

Largest pension funds to vote against re-election of Wells Fargo directors

Scott Stringer
Scott Stringer

CalSTRS, CalPERS and the New York City comptroller will vote against the re-election of nine or more of Wells Fargo's 15 directors.

The office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said on Friday that Mr. Stringer, the fiduciary for the five pension funds within the $170.6 billion New York City Retirement Systems, will vote against the re-election of independent chairman Stephen W. Sanger and nine others on Wells Fargo's board of directors.

According to their proxy-voting disclosures, the $316 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, and the $202.1 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, Sacramento, will each vote against nine of the bank's directors, including Mr. Sanger.

“The extent of fraud at Wells Fargo was simply stunning. When banks take shortcuts like this, everyone loses. Customers become victims. Public confidence dissipates. And long-term investors like the New York City pension funds are undercut. This scandal was the result of a serious oversight failure by Wells Fargo's board, and the directors responsible need to be held accountable. It's time for change at the top,” Mr. Stringer said in a statement Friday.

Among the directors whom Mr. Stringer will vote to re-elect are independent vice chairwoman Elizabeth A. Duke and Suzanne M. Vautrinot, two of the board's most recent directors who joined in 2015.

The New York City pension system owns 11.5 million shares of Wells Fargo; CalPERS had 12.8 million and CalSTRS, 9.8 million.

Proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended earlier this month that shareholders vote against 12 of Wells Fargo's directors, including Mr. Sanger.

A Wells Fargo spokesman declined to comment.