FINRA fines Oppenheimer & Co $3.4 million for reporting violations
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered Oppenheimer & Co Inc to pay $3.4 million to settle charges it failed to report required information to the agency such as disciplinary actions against employees and settlements with clients.
Oppenheimer & Co, a unit of Oppenheimer Holdings (NYSE: OPY), will pay $1.85 million to customers and $1.57 million to FINRA, a U.S. non-governmental organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets.
The regulator said in a statement that Oppenheimer failed to submit 350 required filings and did not provide certain documents to clients who accused a former broker of inflating his commissions by needlessly trading clients' accounts.
Oppenheimer’s procedures did not provide direction to its employees on making these disclosures, FINRA added.
Some of the charges mentioned in the settlement related to "legacy issues" the firm discovered and reported to FINRA after it upgraded its oversight procedures, Oppenheimer said in an emailed statement.
"Over the past several years, we have upgraded personnel, strengthened policies, procedures and controls, and undertaken significant technology initiatives to mitigate future reporting issues," said Oppenheimer, which neither admitted nor denied the charges.
FINRA found that in the case of the 350 filings, Oppenheimer filed documents four years late on average.
It also found that Oppenheimer's compliance officer and another employee in its anti-money laundering division were late in disclosing to FINRA that they had received "Well's notices." Well's notices are issued to financial firms when a regulator has completed an investigation into the firm's business and found infractions.
The regulator found Oppenheimer failed to produce relevant documents for 7 claimants who brought arbitration disputes alleging that the firm failed to supervise former broker Mark Hotton for excessively trading clients' accounts.
Of the $1.85 million that will go to customers, $700,000 will go to those seven people, and $1.14 million will go to customers who should not have had to pay mutual fund sales charges.
(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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