As an investor, I try to do everything deliberately. Making quick decisions based on instinct is the best way to make irrational, emotional, and eventually costly choices. That's why it's strange for me to say this, but if you're an investor in Wells Fargo
When CFO Howard Atkins left the company unexpectedly in early February, there were obvious questions about the reasons for his departure. Wells Fargo stated publicly that he left for personal reasons and not anything related to financial reporting or condition. More recently, however, analyst Chris Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics -- a highly regarded, though, it should be noted, bearish expert on the banking industry -- reported that some executives have questioned the company's accounting practices to its regulators. That's not good.
Whalen goes on to say that Wells Fargo has weak disclosure compared to its peers, especially in the area of mortgage-related loan loss exposure. Is there merit to this claim? Well accounting disclosure, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. In comparing the latest 10-Qs of Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase
In matters of accounting, I'm of the mind that you shoot first and ask questions later. There's nothing worse for a stock than an accounting issue, as it leads to uncertainty and rampant speculation. Look at what recently happened to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Fundamentals mean nothing if you can't trust the numbers behind them. While this could be overblown, to me it's not worth the risk. If I were a Wells Fargo shareholder, I'd be thinking about selling until the situation is resolved.
Fool contributor Stephen J. Marini owns shares in JPMorgan Chase. He does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned above. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Motley Fool Alpha has opened a short position on Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The Fool owns shares of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.