WASHNGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ordered Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (RJA) and Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (RJFS) to pay restitution of $1.69m to more than 15,500 investors who were charged unfair and unreasonable commissions on securities transactions. FINRA also fined RJA $225,000 and RJFS $200,000.
FINRA found that from Jan. 1, 2006 to Oct. 31, 2010, RJA and RJFS used automated commission schedules for equity transactions that charged more than15,500 customers nearly $1.69 million in excessive commissions on over 27,000 transactions involving, in most instances, low-priced securities. The firms' supervisory systems were inadequate because the firms established inflated schedules and rates without proper consideration of the factors necessary to determine the fairness of the commissions, including the type of security and the size of the transaction.
Brad Bennett, FINRA Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement, said, 'Raymond James failed to adequately monitor its supervisory systems and as a result, both Raymond James & Associates and Raymond James Financial Services overcharged thousands of customers on their securities transactions. Broker-dealers must ensure that their automated systems set commission charges that are fair to investors'.
FINRA required the firms to revise their automated commission schedules to conform to the requirements of the Fair Prices and Commissions Rule. In addition to requiring RJA and RJFS to repay approximately $1.69m in overcharges, each firm is required to calculate and repay additional overcharges from Nov. 1, 2010, through the date that each firm revised its schedule.
These actions were brought by David Klafter, Deputy Regional Chief Counsel, under the supervision of Andrew Favret, Regional Chief Counsel of the Department of Enforcement.
In settling these matters, RJA and RJFS neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms, writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws, informing and educating the investing public, providing trade reporting and other industry utilities, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms.
For more information, please visit our website at www.finra.org.
Have something to tell us about this article?