Edit: I've uploaded my sample of Wells Fargo PDFs and a spreadsheet comparing them.

Edit 2: Found a PDF on the wellsfargo.com site that's a close match.   Updating my probabilities a little towards real and away from fake…

ZeroHedge released a document that they claim is the soon-to-be-released Repurchase Process at Wells Fargo.  I wanted to take a few minutes to see whether this document passed the smell test.

First, the PDF has an author tag – Sean Lacy.  According to LinkedIn, Sean Lacy does appear to be a Wells Fargo implementation consultant based out of the Twin Cities.  Furthermore, if you were to search for a Wells Fargo employee working in implementation, Sean wouldn't be the first one you'd find.  A quick scan of LinkedIn and Google indicates that there would have been quite a few employees you might have chosen instead  to fabricate this document.

Second, the document does also have a company tag – Wells Fargo & Co.  However, I've downloaded a sample of around 20 PDFs from the wellsfargo.com site and none of them contain this tag.

However,  some other pieces aren't adding up.  For instance,  the document creation is set to 12:32pm on Oct. 12.  It was modified just over a day later.  A Wells Fargo spokesman seemed to imply that the process was under review as early as October 5th, which would have given them at least a week to review the lawyers' briefs.  However, the document text indicates that it is dated October 15th (with a typo).  It seems strange that a document that was delayed for review for this long would have a typo in the date.

There are some software questions too.  I've gone through 20 PDFs, four of which were from the last 6 months, and found none that were produced by Acrobat PDFMaker 9.0 for Word.  Most documents were either produced by InDesign or used Acrobat 6.0 software.  I'm not sure how diverse the IT infrastructure is at Wells Fargo, but I'd assume that software versions don't differ that much across the firm. There are some more little things…the font doesn't match the fonts used in any other documents.   The disclaimer text also doesn't follow the standard I've seen thus far of indicating subsidiary roles (see this other "internal" document).

All in all, I'm not sure I believe this is the real deal.

2 Responses to “Notes on ZeroHedge’s release of Wells Fargo Repurchase Process Document”

  1. Jacob says:

    We’ll find out tomorrow at 9:30 am.

  2. Jacob says:

    Why don’t you email the link email link in the document and see if it comes back as undeliverable. If it doesn’t come back, I’d assume it is real. I’d assume it is difficult to hack the Wells Fargo server to create a fictional mailbox using their wellsfargo.com domain.

    Software discrepancies are common in corporate America. It all depends when the IT went out and rolled out the updates.

    The font discrepancy bothers me, however the people in Corporate in most large enterprises that are the ones in charge of font generally reside in the PR and Marketing Department and this document would probably have been prepared by the legal and compliance department who might not be as fluent with company standards on documents.

    I’d see if you have any examples of HR memos or other compliance and legal memos to see if there is a discrepancy from their marketing materials in font. If this was rushed out, it simply might not have had the diligence associate with it as something that is planned to be released.

    In any regards, will find out if it is genuine in the morning.

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