Last week, Merrill Lynch was fined a total of $26 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleging failures in reporting “suspicious” transactions, according to documentation obtained by Reuters. Allegedly, from 2010 until 2011, the bank failed to properly monitor brokerage accounts for illegal activity, and offered its brokerage clients traditional banking services, such as cash deposits at ATMs and wire transfers to offshore firms, without using screening software to highlight potentially illegal activity. The SEC fined Merrill Lynch $13 million and ordered the bank to cease and desist, alleging that, from 2011 until 2015, its anti-money laundering policies were insufficient to account for the additional risk from such banking services. FINRA is expected to announce and issue a $13 million fine in the next few days. A Miami court has ordered the bank to pay $25 million in a class action settlement related to failures to pass on sales charge waivers on mutual funds.
Wells Fargo was just fined $35 million by the Office the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today for allegations that the bank made unsafe or unsound sales practices. The bank was also ordered to make restitution to customers who were harmed by the unsound practices. These included the unauthorized opening of deposit or credit card accounts and the transfer of funds from authorized, existing accounts to unauthorized accounts. The bank also failed to develop and implement an effective an enterprise risk management program to detect and prevent the unsafe or unsound sales practices. For those customers who were harmed by Wells Fargo, we encourage you to call our Chicago-based securities law firm to speak to an attorney about your options of suing the bank for the unsafe and unsound sales practices. We may be able to help you recover your investment losses with Wells Fargo.
Alfred Chan, a former NI Advisors broker in Oakland, California has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In March 2016, he allegedly sold index annuities valued at approximately $2.5 million through an outside business activity. He was discharged from Signator Investors, another former firm, following allegations he failed to follow firm policy regarding unapproved advertising materials, unapproved seminar activity and the sale of unapproved indexed annuities. He was registered with WMA Securities, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, MetLife Securities, Pension Planners Securities, Financial Network Investment Corp, Associated Securities Corp, LPL Financial Corp, Signator Investors, and NI Advisors in Oakland, California from December 2013 until January 2016. He is not currently registered with any member firm. He has two customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. Please call our law offices today if you would like to speak to an attorney about your options of suing Alfred Chan in the FINRA arbitration claims forum on a contingency fee basis. The call is free.