NOTE: Stipulations of Fact and Consent to Penalty (SFC); Offers of Settlement (OS); and Letters of Acceptance Waiver, and Consent (AWC) are entered into by Respondents without admitting or denying the allegations, but consent is given to the described sanctions & to the entry of findings. Additionally, for AWCs, if FINRA has reason to believe a violation has occurred and the member or associated person does not dispute the violation, FINRA may prepare and request that the member or associated person execute a letter accepting a finding of violation, consenting to the imposition of sanctions, and agreeing to waive such member's or associated person's right to a hearing before a hearing panel, and any right of appeal to the National Adjudicatory Council, the SEC, and the courts, or to otherwise challenge the validity of the letter, if the letter is accepted. The letter shall describe the act or practice engaged in or omitted, the rule, regulation, or statutory provision violated, and the sanction or sanctions to be imposed.
Kimberly Sue Rutherford
In connection with the sale of an annuity contract, Rutherford misrepresented to a customer that he would receive a higher return rate than what the terms of the policy offered. Rutherford provided the customer with falsified annual account statements and an altered annuity contract that reflected a higher return rate, when in fact the customer was receiving a lower rate of return. Rutherford falsified an annual account statement by increasing the account balance by over $5,000 in order to mislead the customer into believing that he received additional earnings as a result of the higher rate of return, and deposited over $5,000 of her own personal funds into the customerís account to compensate him for the disparity in return rates.
After agreeing to reimburse another customer for any early withdrawal penalties in connection with transferring money to his annuity, Rutherford falsified an annuity confirmation statement wherein the account balance was increased to cover a surrender charge that had not been credited after the customer complained that he was charged a penalty for early withdrawal.
Kimberly Sue Rutherford: Barred
Wadsworth Investment Co., Inc. and William Frederick Wadsworth (Principal)
The Firm and Wadsworth
- permitted an individual to act as an unregistered principal and permitted individuals to be registered as General Securities Representatives or Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representatives through the firm without being active in the firmís securities business;
- sent written communications to customers and prospective customers containing language that failed to provide a sound basis for evaluating the claims within the communications, and that omitted material information and/or contained unwarranted statements;
- failed to record a
general securities principalís approval on mutual fund and variable
- completed and signed a materially inaccurate FINRA
Information Request form; and
- provided inaccurate information to FINRA
Acting through Wadsworth, the Firm failed to
- establish and , maintain a supervisory system and written supervisory procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations;
- conduct annual reviews of any of the business in which the firm engaged
- review registered representativesí business-related email correspondence with customers;
- establish any written procedures providing for the review of its registered representativesí electronic correspondence;
- designate and specifically identify at least one principal to FINRA who would establish, maintain and enforce a system of supervisory control policies and procedures, a
- establish, maintain and enforce written supervisory controlpolicies and procedures
required information on new account forms, and on mutual fund and
variable annuity applications.
Acting through Wadsworth, the Firm
- maintained forms of various types that were blank except for customersí
- filed inaccurate Financial
and Operational Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) reports setting forth
the firmís net capital position that was accurate by failing
to maintain accurate financial books and records; and
- did not file an
application with FINRA for approval of an ownership change until after
the ownership change took place.
The Firm failed to
- implement anti-money laundering compliance procedures, including independent testing and provide training;
- enforce the Customer Identification Procedures;
- retain electronic communications; and
- failed to provide written confirmations to customers at or before the completion of securities transactions acted as an unregisteredmunicipal securities broker-dealer.
The Firm executed municipal securities transactions without creating and retaining order tickets to properly recordthe transactions, and failed to report municipal securities trades to the MSRB.Wadsworth Investment Co., Inc.: Censured; Fined $100,000 ($77,250 jt/sev with William Wadsworth); Required to hire an independent consultant to review its policies,
systems, procedures (written and otherwise) and training related to its
violations of federal securities laws, FINRA and MSRB rules, and
implement the consultantís recommendations.
William Frederick Wadsworth: Fined $77,250 jt/sev with the Firm; Suspended 1 month in all capacities; Suspended 1 year in Principal capacities only.