Articles Tagged with private placement memorandum

shutterstock_187532306The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned brokerage firm Carolina Financial Securities, LLC (Carolina Financial) concerning allegations that the firm failed to conduct proper due diligence on private placements sold by the firm.

Carolina Financial has been FINRA member since 1997 and operates out of Brevard, North Carolina. The firm has 12 registered representatives and derives generates revenues through the sale of private placements. The firm has two other prior disciplinary actions including a FINRA action in July 2010, concerning allegations that Carolina Financial failed to ensure that an escrow account was established for a contingent offering.

NASD Rule 3010 requires brokerage firms to establish, maintain, and enforce a supervisory system reasonably designed to comply with the securities laws and the FINRA rules. As part of a brokerage firm’s responsibility includes conducting due diligence on its securities products in order for the firm to understand the risks of these products and to have a reasonable basis to believe these products are suitable for at least some customers. FINRA stated in its complaint that due diligence is especially important for alternative investments such as private placement offerings under Regulation D where there is no registration of the securities with the SEC.

p344456Every year, companies across the United States raise hundreds of billions of dollars selling securities in non-public offerings that are exempt from registration under the federal securities laws. These offerings, known as private placements, can be a tremendous source of capital for both small and large business. However, according to FINRA, investors should be aware that private placements can be illiquid and are very risky with the potential to lose most or all of your investment.

Fraud and Sales Practices Abuses

For over three years, FINRA has been investigating private placements and has uncovered fraud and sales practice abuses related to private placements that resulted in sanctions of individual brokers and financial institutions for providing investors inaccurate information relating to private placements. In addition, some materials omitted information necessary for investors to make informed investment decisions. Finally some firms failed to conduct adequate investigations into whether the private placements were suitable for customers.

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