A Wells Notice is a letter that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sends to people or firms when it is planning to bring an enforcement action against them. The Wells Notice indicates that the SEC staff has determined it may bring a civil action against a person or firm, and provides the person or firm with the opportunity to provide information as to why the enforcement action should not be brought.
Additional meaning of Wells notice:
Regulators are not legally required to provide a Wells Notice; however, it is the practice of the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to provide such notice.
The name "Wells Notice" is derived from the Wells Committee which proposed this process in 1972. This SEC committee was named after John A. Wells, its chair. The other members of the committee were former SEC Chairmen Manny F. Cohen and Ralph Demmler.