Securities industry regulatory body, FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), released its proposal for a rule that would crack down on firms with a high concentration of “bad” brokers. With its latest regulatory notice, FINRA stated that it would increase oversight of brokerages with a “significant history of misconduct,” requiring them to set aside additional funds that cannot be withdrawn without FINRA’s consent.
The financial industry self-regulator, FINRA, issued a new regulatory notice today aimed at broker-dealers with departing brokers. The notice was intended to urge broker-dealers to be more clear and forthright with customers about departing brokers and what will happen to the customers’ accounts. If you’ve ever been in the situation where your broker has either left for another firm, left the industry, or passed away, you understand just how confusing things can get when it comes to who will be handling your investments and why.
Last week, federal prosecutors in North Carolina brought charges against Stephen C. Peters, the latest alleged Ponzi operator to hit the headlines. Peters has been charged with diverting more than $4.4 million of retirement savings from elderly investors. Rather than actually invest their money, Peters used it to remodel a ranch in North Carolina, purchase fine art, build a vacation home in Costa Rica, and buy horses.
From February 2011 to December 2015, Citigroup displayed to investors, brokers, and supervisors inaccurate ratings related to more than 1,800 equities, or more than 38% covered by the firm. These mistakes included the wrong execution recommendations (“buy” instead of “sell”); ratings which were mixed up between securities; or non-ratings for securities which were actually rated.
Widely considered one of the most pressing problems of our times, elder abuse and particularly elderly financial abuse have received national attention, thanks to initiatives by the Department of Health, the Department of Labor, and the Obama Administration. These agencies have focused on the loss of billions of dollars per year in retirement savings among not just millionaires but ordinary hard-working and retired Americans.
Each month and again on a quarterly basis, the agency that regulates the financial industry, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), produces a detailed report that runs down all disciplinary actions recently taken against brokerage firms and brokers. This long list of alleged wrongdoing and misconduct reads a lot like a police blotter. We strongly encourage any investor who suspects their broker and/or broker-dealer of having lost them money on dubious terms to at least skim this report to see if you recognize any names, schemes, products, or securities.