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Both varied and busy: FINRA’s top 2020 enforcement actions

Financial professionals in California and nationally who work on behalf of individual and institutional investors must often feel as though their efforts as money managers proceed under a withering spotlight.

That glaring heat, while only a figurative manifestation, sometimes breeds real and stark consequences. For, indeed, financial advisers, stockbrokers, brokerage firms, CPAs and additional industry pros do in fact serve their clients subject to regulatory scrutiny that is both ongoing and intense.

The close and constant watch over their activities comes courtesy of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an agency we have occasionally referenced on our website at the Century Law Group, LLP. Our established California license-defense firm diligently represents diverse clients in formal FINRA disciplinary hearings and other investigations.

The authority’s regulatory whip carries a potentially sharp sting in any given matter, especially in actions where something like fund/portfolio mismanagement, fraud, misrepresentation or a fiduciary breach is alleged. Outcomes can yield professional license suspension, revocation, criminal sanctions and punitive fines.

That last-cited sanction is highlighted in a recent article discussing FINRA fines doled out last year. The publication ThinkAdvisor reports that the agency fined alleged wrongdoers $57 million, which spells a 40%-plus jump in demands from 2019. Here are the top-5 enforcement issues zeroed in on by government regulators last year:

  • Anti-money laundering citations
  • Irregularities in broker/company records and books
  • Inaccurate reporting of trade-linked information
  • Discrepancies tied to variable annuities
  • Unregistered securities cases

Of course, and as noted above, any of those sanctions can yield license suspensions or revocations. When that is a possibility, a targeted financial professional can turn for guidance and proven representation to an experienced license-defense legal team with a demonstrated record of strong client advocacy.

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