For centuries, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) has put its reputation above all else.
The San Francisco-based banking giant appeared to emerge relatively unscathed from the 2008 financial crisis. It was named Most Valuable Bank Brand in the United States and number two worldwide in 2012.
It's even a favorite and primary position in legendary investor Warren Buffett's iconic Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) portfolio.
It has avoided the reputation of being manipulative, like its rivals - but that doesn't mean investors aren't getting burned.
An article last week from The New York Times showed that investors need to fully understand the risks of their investments, and can't always trust their bank - no matter the reputation - to look out for them.
Turns out investors who purchased an unusual security suffered steep losses, while Wells Fargo came out ahead. The risks, and there were many, were deeply hidden in the prospectus, a wordy and complicated document few investors understood.