Suitability, misrepresentation and issues involving variable annuities and mutual funds topped the list of enforcement actions levied by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2009. In total, the regulator imposed $50 million in fines and resolved 1,090 disciplinary actions. By comparison, FINRA saw $28 million in fines from 1,007 actions in 2008.
As reported July 9 by Investment News, about two-thirds of the 2009 fines for advertising violations came from auction-rate securities cases. Actions against FINRA members for sales of convertible notes and private placements also were more prevalent in 2009 and into 2010.
Moving forward, analysts predict the industry to see a growing number of fines from cases connected to sales seniors, alternative investments and private placements. Already, two significant cases involving private placements – Medical Capital Holdings and Provident Royalties – are the subject of multiple lawsuits and arbitration claims.