The bulk of advisers, brokers, CPAs and other professionally licensed individuals working in the financial sector across the United States are regulated by the federal Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
We have noted in select prior blog posts at the Century Law Group, LLP that FINRA routinely subjects industry players to investigations targeting various alleged acts of wrongdoing. FINRA hearings are formal and complex affairs, and those petitioned to appear can benefit greatly from the candid advice and diligent representation of proven license-defense attorneys.
A recent article from the online publication Financial Advisor provides a number of FINRA-linked statistics relevant to 2019 that shed light on the agency’s key interests and enforcement focus. We spotlight some of the main takeaways below.
First, the amount of FINRA financial penalties doled out last year evidences a continuing “downward trend” from prior years. Reportedly, the agency assessed $174 million in fines last year. The approximately $24 million in restitution ordered to be paid to investor victims of fraudulent schemes also signaled a significant drop from 2018 and immediately preceding years.
Does such dampened activity signify an agency that no longer commands the power it once wielded?
That seems patently unlikely. Rather, it is perhaps much more the case that the agency is simply being more select in applying its enforcement powers. Financial Advisor notes that FINRA prominently marshalled its resources against money laundering schemes last year. And wrongdoers in some instances were slapped with notably high fines ($15 million in one case).
FINRA continues its active role as the prime regulator and enforcement power overseeing the American financial industry. Questions or concerns regarding an agency probe or hearing summons can be directed to an established license-defense legal team.