The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned three firms, H. Beck, Inc. (H. Beck), LaSalle St. Securities, LLC (LaSalle), and J.P. Turner & Company, LLC (JP Turner) – with fines of $425,000, $175,000 and $100,000, respectively concerning inadequate supervision of consolidated reports provided to customers.
As a background, a consolidated report is a single document that combines information regarding a customer’s financial holdings. Consolidated reports are used to supplement, but do not replace, official account statements disseminated by brokerage firms and market makers. FINRA released a regulatory notice reminding firms that consolidated reports must be clear, accurate and not misleading. Because these reports are not official reports FINRA is concerned that if consolidated report making is not rigorously supervised there is the potential for communications to be inaccurate, confusing, or misleading to customers. Consolidated reports can also be used for fraudulent or unethical purposes.
In the agency’s findings, FINRA determined that numerous registered representatives of the three firms prepared and disseminated consolidated reports to customers either without adequate review or any prior review by a principal. In particular, H. Beck and J.P. Turner did not have any written procedures specifically addressing the use and supervision of consolidated reports. In addition, while LaSalle had written procedures related to consolidated reports, it failed to enforce the procedures.
Brad Bennett, FINRA Executive Vice President and Chief of Enforcement, stated in FINRA’s press release that, “Inadequate controls around consolidated reporting create the risk that unscrupulous representatives will provide inaccurate and misleading reports to their clients to conceal fraud and theft. These actions along with previous actions involving consolidated reports should be a message to firms that we will continue to examine for this issue and sanction firms that are not supervising this function properly.”