Settlement Comes After Allegations of Improperly Charging Advisory Fees And Excess Commissions
According to a recent press release by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), financial giant Raymond James & Associates, Inc. agreed to a $15 million settlement. The settlement comes after the SEC ordered a finding that three Raymond James entities improperly charged advisory fees and charged excess commissions on several accounts.
Specifically the September 17, 2019 order found that “Raymond James & Associates, Inc. and Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., failed to consistently perform promised ongoing reviews of advisory accounts that had no trading activity for at least one year.” By failing to conduct these promised ongoing reviews, the entities failed to examine whether the advisory fees were suitable for the accounts. Additionally, the SEC found that certain unit investment trusts (UIT) were overcharged because the wrong pricing was applied to the accounts.
Furthermore, the SEC order determined that Raymond James failed to adequately determine whether the recommendations they were making to customers holding UIT positions were suitable. Over a period of five years, the company recommended that customers sell UITs early, before maturity, and buy new UITs. These recommendations resulted in customers paying excess commissions.
Ultimately, the SEC found that three Raymond James entities had violated a number of federal securities rules including:
The company agreed to pay disgorgement of $12 million for the ill-gotten advisory fees and excess commissions and a $3 million civil penalty.
FINRA broker-dealers like Raymond James owe a duty to their clients to regularly review customer accounts to confirm that customers are not being harmed and that advisors are acting consistently with their fiduciary duties owed to customers. If you have accounts with Raymond James and believe that you were charged excessive commissions or paid improper advisory fees, contact Levin Law today for a free case evaluation. Levin Law’s attorneys have recovered millions on behalf of investors who have suffered financial damages as a result of investment fraud and stockbroker misconduct. Contact Levin Law today at (305) 402-9050. Most cases are handled on a contingent basis, meaning that you do not pay attorneys’ fees unless we recover money for you.