Articles Posted in TD Ameritrade Inc.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission is ordering TD Ameritrade Inc. (AMTD) to pay a $500K fine for not submitting mandatory suspicious activity reports (SARs) even after the broker-dealer stopped doing business with 111 independent investment advisers. The regulator contends that between 2013 and September 2015, the firm ended its business relationships with these advisers, who were not TD Ameritrade employees, due to what it found to be “unacceptable business, credit, operational, reputational or regulatory risk” to itself or customers.

While the brokerage firm did submit a number of suspicious activity reports (SARs) regarding suspect transactions made by some of these advisers it had fired, it did not submit SARs reports on some of the other advisers with whom TD Ameritrade had also ended their business relationships.

The suspect activities at issue allegedly included suspicious trading—including moving losses from trade errors to clients—inappropriate money transfers, and making false and misleading statements to customers while serving as an investment adviser managing their TD Ameritrade accounts.

In Oregon, a district court judge has refused to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit accusing TD Ameritrade (AMTD), Integrity Bank & Trust, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Eisner Amper LP, and law firms Tonkon Torp and Sidley Austin of playing a part in the alleged securities fraud committed by Aequitas Management LLC, which is now defunct.

Over 1500 investors entrusted over $350M to Aequitas. They each invested amounts ranging from about $60K to over $1M in Aequitas funds, including the Aequitas Income Opportunity Fund II LLC that they now claim was a Ponzi scam.

Last year, in its civil securities case, the US Securities and Exchange Commission accused the Oregon-based investment group and three of its executives of concealing the firm’s financial woes while still raising millions of dollars. Investors thought they were backing investments involving transportation, education, and healthcare when their funds were allegedly being used to save Aequitas. Meantime, newer investors’ funds were also used to pay earlier investors in a Ponzi-like scam.
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The Securities and Exchange Commission has sanctioned thirteen financial firms, including UBS Financial Services (UBS), Charles Schwab and Co. (SCHW), J.P. Morgan Securities (JPM), and Stifel Nicolaus & Co. (SF), for the improper sales of Puerto Rican junk bonds. A $100,00 minimum denomination had been established in junk bonds of $3.5 billion made by Puerto Rico several months ago. An SEC probe, however, revealed that there had been 66 instances when firms sold the bonds in transactions of under $100,000.

Municipal bond offerings are supposed to have a set minimum denomination that determines the smallest amount that a firm can sell to an investor during a single transaction. Typically, municipal issuers will establish high minimum denominations for junk bonds with a greater default risk. This is done to limit the bonds from ending up in the accounts of investors who may not be able to handle the risks.

The firms and their fines: UBS Financial Services for $56,400, Charles Schwab & Co. for $61,800, Oppenheimer & Co. (OPY) for $61,200, Wedbush Securities Inc. for $67,200, Hapoalim Securities USA for $54,000, TD Ameritrade (AMTD) for $100,800, Interactive Brokers LLC for $56,000, Stifel Nicolaus & Co. (SF) for $60,000, Investment Professionals Inc. for $67,800, Riedl First Securities Co. of Kansas for $130,000, J.P. Morgan Securities for $54,000, National Securities Corporation for $60,000, and Lebenthal & Co. for $54,000.

Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. (MS) and TD Ameritrade Inc. (AMTD) will buy back over $338 million in auction rate securities from New Jersey investors. The repurchase is to settle securities allegations by the state’s attorney general that the financial firms did not adequately disclose the risks involved with investing in ARS.

Per the settlement, Morgan Stanley (the ARS underwriters) will repurchase $322.27 in ARS that it sold to retail investors and pay civil penalties of $1.56 million. The New Jersey Bureau of Securities claims that not only did the financial firm fail to tell investors of the risks involved in the financial instruments—even after knowing the ARS market was in trouble—but Morgan Stanley also failed to adequately train financial advisers and brokers about the possible illiquidity that could impact ARS.

TD Ameritrade (the ARS distributor) will buy back $16.1 million in ARS. The bureau claims that the broker-dealer’s registered representatives failed to inform clients of the risks involving ARS.

In a release issued late last month, Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, said that efforts have led to financial firms either buying back or offering to repurchase over $2.7 billion in ARS. The settlements with Morgan Stanley and TD Ameritrade are the ninth and tenth ones that the Division has reached with firms that sold ARS to investors. Earlier this year, UBS agreed to buy back $1.5 billion in ARS from New Jersey investors.

Related Web Resources:
Division of Consumer Affairs Announces Settlement: Morgan Stanley and TD Ameritrade Agree to Repurchase Over $338 Million in Auction Rate Securities from N.J. Investors, The State of New Jersey, April 21, 2011

Morgan Stanley Consent Order (PDF)

TD Ameritrade Consent Order (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
Anschutz Corp.’s Securities Fraud Lawsuit Against Deutsche Bank and Credit Rating Agencies Over Their Alleged Mishandling of Auction-Rate Securities Can Proceed, Says District Court, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, April 21, 2011

Class Auction-Rate Securities Lawsuit Against Raymond James Financial Survives Dismissal, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, September 27, 2010

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TD Ameritrade Inc. (AMTD) has settled Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it failed to reasonably supervise its representatives, some who sold shares of the Reserve Yield Plus Fund to clients. As part of the settlement, TD Ameritrade will pay $10 million to eligible customers who are still fund shareholders.

According to the SEC, TD Ameritrade representatives offered and sold Reserve Yield Plus Fund shares to customers before September 16, 2008. The SEC contends that the representatives “mischaracterized” the fund as a money market fund, making it seem as if the fund had guaranteed liquidity while allegedly failing to discloses the risks involved with this type of investment. In September 2008, the fund “broke the buck” when its assets’ value fell lower than the level required to cover each dollar that had been invested in the fund.

The SEC also claims that TD Ameritrade lacked an adequate supervisory system or policies to stop its representatives’ misconduct that led to investors’ losses. Clients eligible to receive money from the settlement should get receive 1.2 cents per share.

The SEC says that it is essential that customers are given adequate information about investment instruments and that broker-dealers must properly train and supervise their representatives to give clients this important information. The SEC said that thousands of TD Ameritrade customers still hold most of the Yield Plus Funds shares. They got approximately 95% of its original investments after the fund liquidated its assets.

By agreeing to settle, the TD Ameritrade Inc. is not denying or admitting to the misconduct.

Related Web Resources:
SEC announces $10M settlement with TD Ameritrade, AP/Yahoo, February 3, 2011
SEC Charges TD Ameritrade for Failing to Supervise Its Representatives Who Sold Shares of the Reserve Yield Plus Fund, SEC, February 3, 2011
Securities Fraud Attorneys

Related Blog Posts on SEC Settlements:
AXA Rosenberg Entities Settle Securities Fraud Charges Over Computer Error Concealment for Over $240M, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 10, 2011
Ex-Portfolio Managers to Pay $700K to Settle SEC Charges that They Defrauded the Tax Free Fund for Utah, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 22, 2011
Schwab Settles for $119M SEC Charges It Allegedly Misled YieldPlus Fund Investors, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 17, 2011 Continue Reading ›

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