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Lesson Learned Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Lesson Learned

Leasson Learded

It's unusual that I write about the same topic two weeks in a row, but this week is going to be an exception, and the topic is Wells Fargo Bank. There are two reasons for this.

First and foremost, I need to apologize to our many friends Firm-wide who work for Wells. Each week, I get many emails about that week's topic; the more controversial the topic, the more emails. Most of the emails are from people I don't actually know personally and are generally at least 75% or more favorable. But last week was different. Not only did I get the expected amount of email, but many of them were from people my partners and I have done business with for decades. And not only did I get emails, but also, for the first time since I started writing this column, I got phone calls. And the theme running through all of those calls and emails was you know us, we're good people, we work for a great institution, and considering the size and scope of Wells and the more than 265,000 people employed by us, what happened was not an accurate reflection of the whole institution. So I thought about what they wrote and said, and came to the conclusion that they were right.

In last week's column, I took a very hard line to basically indict an entire institution based on the wrong-doing of a very small portion of its workforce, including its CEO, and didn't take a step back to recognize that the bad actors were a relatively few rotten apples, not the entire company. So, to all of the rest of you at Wells Fargo who have historically demonstrated the highest ethical treatment of your customers and your institution, my sincerest apologies.

Secondly, I need to commend Wells Fargo's Board of Directors, who this week, albeit probably later than they should have, took decisive, punitive action against the bank's CEO, John Stumpf, and the (former) head of its retail banking operation, Carrie Tolstedt. The board agreed to claw back $41 million of Mr. Stumpf's unvested stock awards, deny him a bonus for 2016 and cut a portion of his $2.8 million base salary. Ms. Tolstedt lost her job, $19 million in compensation and is now most likely unemployable by a reputable organization. It should be only a matter of time before Mr. Stumpf joins her at their local unemployment office.

So I learned something by all of this. Perhaps I reacted too quickly in my indictment of Wells as an institution. Had I waited a week, I would have been writing something completely different, complimenting the Wells board, rather than trashing an entire company. Lesson learned.


Good to Bad Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Good to Bad

Good to Bad

What makes good companies go bad? Usually, it's the same thing that leads good people to go astray. Greed. One of the original and most enduring vices.

Over the past few weeks, leading to a grilling at Tuesday's Senate Banking Committee hearing, Wells Fargo became the latest example of corporate greed run amok. Dating back at least to 2011 (as far as anyone can tell so far), Wells created two million fraudulent bank and credit card accounts in its customers' names, in order to meet aggressive company targets for cross-selling new products. There were allegedly substantial incentives attached to those sales targets and extreme pressure on the front lines to meet them.

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Look, Ma, No Hands! Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Look, Ma, No Hands!

Look, Ma, No Hands!

Today will go down in the calendar as one of the most momentous days of 2016. Yes, it is the day that proves we, here at Marcum, have lived to tell another tale about surviving the September 15 tax filing deadline. But it is also the day that the iPhone "hits puberty," as the New York Times put it. The long-awaited debut of the iPhone 7 is finally here.

Ok, so maybe it's not the biggest thing happening in your personal world, but even if you're a die-hard android fan (up until the recall of the Galaxy 7), you have to admit that every time Apple ups the game, the rest of the world stops turning for a minute to see what new features (or eliminations) are now going to rule the universe.

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Happy Fall Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
Happy Fall

Happy Fall

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, has come and gone, and school is back in session, so it's time for Jeff to start writing again. For those of us who live in the Northeast, it was a spectacular summer weather-wise. I can count on one hand the number of rain days we had from Memorial Day to now. Many of us got an opportunity to take some time off, re-charge our batteries, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy what summer has to offer.

With vacation season now behind us, here at Marcum we are in the throes of one of our biggest tax deadlines of the year, September 15, with less than a week to go. Our team members are working incredible hours to meet and exceed our clients' expectations and to ensure that everything that needs to be filed by the deadline is done with time to spare. Just about every partnership and corporation with a December 31 year-end has an extended tax filing deadline of September 15; so you can imagine, based on the size and scope of our practice, the incredible amount of work that gets done leading up to next Thursday. And as soon as next week's deadline comes and goes, we'll roll right into the October 15 tax filing deadline for all our individual clients who are on extension, a significant portion of our client base.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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