The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has released its 2009 annual report concerning disciplinary actions brought forth by the organization. The report highlights the lessons learned from the recent financial crisis, as well as revelations of fraud and measures to protect investors.
Here are some of the highlights:
- FINRA created an Office of the Whistleblower in March to encourage individuals to report fraudulent activities conducted by those entrusted with investors’ money. In October, they also created the Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence.
- FINRA created an Office of the Whistleblower in 2009 according to the report. These actions included the disbarring of 383 individuals, the suspension of 363 individuals and the expelling of 20 firms for investment fraud. Nearly $50 million in fines were levied against firms and individuals. These actions were partially a result of about 2,500 routine examinations.
- FINRA reviewed approximately 96,700 advertisement and sales communications that were produced by firms to distribute to investors, the report also indicates. The intent of this review was to detect potential investment scams.
- FINRA has challenged regulators to increase their focus on investor protection as a result of the volatility of the past few years. FINRA is also supporting a fiduciary standard for broker-dealers that offer personalized advice. They have recommended the SEC to be the best agency to enforce these increased standards.