In 2010, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority brought 1,310 disciplinary
actions against unscrupulous brokers and brokerage firms – a 13
percent increase over 2009, and the largest number of actions filed in
recent years. That is, until now.
By Dec. 16 of 2011, FINRA already had brought 1,411 disciplinary actions
against registered individual brokers and firms, and ordered more than
$19 million in restitution to investors, according to a Dec. 16 FINRA
news release. Registered brokers and firms accused of securities violations
also were ordered to pay more than $63 million in fines. In addition to
monetary penalties, FINRA suspended 432 brokers from association with
FINRA-regulated firms, barred 317 individuals, and expelled 17 firms from
the securities industry.
Complaints and disciplinary actions filed in 2011 included those against:
FINRA's investigations also led to more than 600 referrals of potential
fraud to federal and state regulators and law enforcement agencies, according
to the release.
In addition to the significant increase in disciplinary actions filed this
year, FINRA’s 2011 activities included substantial investments in
investor education, such as the newly redesigned SaveAndInvest.org website
and the newly launchedResearch Center on the Prevention of Financial Fraud. FINRA also issued a total of ten investor alerts, which warned investors
about the potential perils and pitfalls of investing in diverse products,
including: non-traded REITs,
structured products, and gold.
"Our top priority is to protect investors," said Richard Ketchum,
FINRA's Chairman and CEO. "We are continually incorporating measures
designed to root out products and practices that harm investors, as well
as providing information and tools that help investors save and invest
for their future and avoid costly mistakes. We remain committed to ensuring
that those who engage in fraudulent or other activities posing a threat
to investors are held accountable."
For more information about FINRA’s 2011 activities and actions, read
the full release