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.
LPL Financial LLC AWC/2010021545201/August 2011
A firm representative submitted a written request to conduct a live call-in finance- and investment-related radio show to be broadcast in Farsi; the firm had various written procedures relating to the supervision of its representatives’ public appearances, which, among other things, required that the first three radio shows be submitted to the firm’s advertising compliance department as soon as they had aired and that the advertising compliance department would contact representatives quarterly to request copies of specific shows during a randomly chosen date range for review.
The firm approved the representative’s request and required the representative to provide a translated copy of the show upon a quarterly request, and an unaffiliated third-party translation company was to complete the translation. For five years, the representative, together with another representative, aired approximately 520 shows on a particular radio station; the format was typically a live call-in show, in Farsi, discussing financial issues and investments, but the firm failed to request or review copies or transcripts of the broadcasts.
establish certain elements of an adequate AML program reasonably designed to achieve and monitor its compliance with the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act and implementing regulations promulgated by the Department of Treasury;
establish policies and procedures reasonably expected to detect and cause the reporting of transactions required under 31 USC 5318(g) by failing to provide branch office managers with reports that contained adequate information to monitor for potential money-laundering and red flag activity; and for the firm’s compliance department to perform periodic reviews of wire transfer activity, require either branch managers or the AML compliance officers to document reviews of AML alerts in accordance with firm procedures, identify the beneficial owners and/or agents for service of process for some foreign correspondent banks accounts, and establish adequate written policies and procedures that provided guidelines for suspicious activity that would require the filing of a Form SAR-SF;
establish policies and procedures that required ongoing AML training of appropriate personnel related to margin issues, entering new account information, verifying physical securities and handling wire activity;
ensure that its third-party vendor verified new customers’ identities by using credit and other database cross-references, and after the firm determined that the vendor’s lapse was resolved, it failed to retroactively verify customer information not previously subjected to the verification process;
establish procedures reasonably expected to detect and cause the reporting of suspicious transactions required under 31 USC 5318(g), in that it failed to include in its AML review the activity in retail accounts institutional account registered representatives serviced;
review accounts that a producing branch office manager serviced under joint production numbers;
evidence in certain instances timely review of letters of authorization, correspondence, account designation changes, trade blotters, branch manager weekly review forms and branch manager monthly reviews; failed to follow procedures intended to prevent producing branch office managers from approving their own errors;
follow procedures intended to prevent a branch office operations manager from approving transactions in her own account and an assistant branch office manager from reviewing transactions in accounts he serviced;
establish procedures for the approval and supervision related to employee use of personal computers and, during one year, permitted certain employees to use personal computers the firm did not approve or supervise,
include a question on thefirm’s annual acknowledgement form for one year that required its registered representatives to disclose outside securities accounts and the firm could not determine how many remained unreported due to the supervisory lapse;
follow policies and procedures requiring the pre-approval and review of the content of employees’ radio broadcasts, television appearances, seminars and dinners, and materials distributed at the seminars and dinners; representatives conducted seminars that were not pre-approved by the firm’s advertising principal as required by its written procedures; the firm failed to maintain in a separate file all advertisements, sales literature and independently prepared reprints for three years from date of last use; and a branch office manager failed to review a registered representative’s radio broadcast. A branch office manager failed to maintain a log of a registered representative’s radio broadcasts and failed to tape and/or maintain a transcript of the broadcasts and there was no evidence a qualified principal reviewed or approved the registered representative’s statements. Branch office managers did not retain documents reflecting the nature of seminars, materials distributed to attendees or supervisory pre-approval of the seminars; retain transcripts of a representative’s local radio program and TV appearances or document supervisory review or approval of materials used; and retain documents reflecting the nature of a dinner or seminar conducted by representatives or materials distributed;
record the identity of the person who accepted each customer order because it failed to update its order ticket form to reflect the identity of the person who accepted the order; and
to review Bloomberg emails and some firm employees’ instant messages
The Firm distributed a document, Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options, that was not current, and the firm lacked procedures for advising customers with respect to changes to the document and failed to document the date on which it was sent to certain customers who had recently opened options accounts. Also, the firm’s compliance registered options principal did not document weekly reviews of trading in discretionary options accounts.
FINRA arbitrations often involve the old "he-said-she-said." That's to be expected because at the core of many disputes are two very different versions of the same event. After the FINRA arbitration hearing concludes and the arbitrators pen their Award, we expect some explanation as to what was found and why -- and a brief explanation as to how a given ... Read On