The Massachusetts Securities Division has filed a complaint against a broker and his firm for allowing the continued website publication of misleading disciplinary information. The broker’s website claimed that he “NEVER” (sic) had a complaint made against him. Although this statement may have been accurate when the website went live in 2008, several customers filed and settled complaints between 2011 and 2018. The MSD faults the firm for failing to flag the misleading website language even though it conducted 4 branch audits during the period and had actual knowledge of the complaints. The MSD criticized policies and procedures that failed to require the firm to “regularly review content after publication.”
OUR TAKE: Earlier this year, FINRA admonished member firms to heighten supervision of brokers with a disciplinary history. The states – including Massachusetts – can jump into the enforcement fray to ensure that the home office properly monitors the branch offices.