FINRA fined Robert W. Baird & Co. $500,000 for supervisory violations relating to its fee-based brokerage accounts and ordered the company to return $434,510 in fees to 154 customers. FINRA found that customers were charged fees in accounts that were not generating any activity, otherwise known as “reverse churning.”
According to FINRA Baird failed to adequately review or supervise its fee accounts and allowed numerous customers to remain in the program despite conducting no trades for at least eight consecutive quarters. These accounts paid over $269,000 in fees during the inactive quarters.
According to Andrew Stoltmann at Investmentfraud.PRO, this type of fee based account has become more prevalent in the past 7 years and Baird is only one firm out of many who engaged in so-called reverse churning. Recent actions involving firms such as AXA Advisors, Morgan Stanley, SunTrust Investment and Wachovia Securities ranged from $700,000 to $6.1 million.
Written by David Welch, Esq.