The weeklong trip for up to 75 employees of brokerage A.G. Edwards, which Wachovia Corp. acquired last year, was to have included spouses and significant others, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. However, Jim Griffin, a spokesman for Wachovia Corp., said the trip has been called off.
"With uncertainty in the markets right now, financial advisers have told us that they prefer to remain close to their clients," Griffin said, "so Wachovia has made the decision to call off the trip."
Such trips have traditionally been commonplace in the financial industry as an incentive for financial advisers who generate business, and the trips are generally treated as taxable income for the brokers.
"This is one way that we recognize our top financial advisers," said Wachovia spokeswoman Teresa Dougherty.
Wachovia Corp. was in talks with Citigroup and Wells Fargo on a possible purchase of Wachovia, based in Charlotte, N.C. Citigroup dropped out of the talks Thursday, clearing the way for Wells Fargo to take over Wachovia.
Word of the planned Wachovia trip came on the heels of news that executives of troubled insurance giant AIG attended a $440,000 company retreat last month at a posh southern resort just days after being bailed out with $85 billion in taxpayer funds.
A White House spokeswoman Wednesday called the AIG outing "despicable," given its impending bailout.