Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has applied for regulatory approval to increase its stake in Wells Fargo after it went up to above 10% recently.


Berkshire’s ownership reached 10.01% in Wells Fargo in mid-March after the San Francisco-bank bought back its shares, according to papers obtained by Reuters.

Shares held by Berkshire, including those owned by Buffett, in the bank now stand at 2.01 million.

Berkshire said in an application to the Federal Reserve: "Berkshire is seeking permission to retain its current ownership position in Wells Fargo and to acquire additional shares of common stock of Wells Fargo for investment purposes."

The papers dated 24 June were submitted to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Berkshire said that it has not purchased any shares in Wells Fargo, the third-largest US bank by assets, since 21 October. Currently, Berkshire’s stake in Wells Fargo is worth over $23bn.

Wells Fargo spokesman Ancel Martinez said in an email to Bloomberg: "We are aware of Berkshire’s most recent filing.

"We value Berkshire Hathaway as a long-term shareholder and customer, and we appreciate the confidence that Berkshire’s executive team has shown."

The Federal Reserve increases scrutiny when the investors increase their stake to above 10% in a bank.

Buffett has invested in the bank since 1989 and a significant part of his stake is owned through Berkshire insurance subsidiaries.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company said that it has no plans to alter Wells Fargo’s strategy or corporate structure and not looking to make changes to the bank’s board.

Image: The Seagram Building: Home of Wells Fargo Securities’ New York offices and trading floors. Photo Courtesy of Noroton/Wikipedia.