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Securities America Up For Sale?

Plagued by legal woes involving private-placements sales in Medical Capital Holdings and Provident Royalties, Securities America may soon have a new owner. As reported April 25 by Investment News, parent company Ameriprise Financial is looking to sell the troubled independent broker/dealer.

“In reporting its first quarter financial results this afternoon, Ameriprise management said it was looking to shed Securities America – the 17th largest independent broker-dealer in the industry according to Investment News data, which it acquired in 1998. Ameriprise indicated the potential sale of the firm would not have an impact on its $150 million settlement with investors suing the firm over private placements that have gone bust,” the article said.

In recent months, sales of private placements have been under the microscope by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Evidence of the new scrutiny became apparent in early April, when FINRA imposed fines and disciplinary actions against a number of firms that sold investments in Medical Capital Holdings and Provident Royalties.

FINRA’s disciplinary actions focused on the failure of broker/dealers to investigate the private placements being sold by their firms. Both Medical Capital and Provident Royalties were charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in July 2009.

Private placements are high-commission products, oftentimes producing hefty fees and commission for broker/dealers of up to 8%.

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