J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp. (JPMCC) of Brooklyn, New York and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS) of New York, New York submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Department of Enforcement of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for alleged unsuitable broker activity.
The Suitability Rule (FINRA Rule 2011) is the most fundamental rule brokerage firms and associates must abide by in recommending investments to customers. Brokers must recommend appropriate investments given the customer’s objectives, financial condition, tax status, etc. This rule lays out the three main suitability obligations requiring brokers to (i) perform due diligence to understand the risks of an investment or investment strategy, and determine whether it is suitable for anyone, (ii) have a reasonable basis for believing the investment strategy is suitable for the particular customer based on that customer’s investment profile; and (iii) have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of securities transactions are not excessive (if the broker has control over the account). In the case of JPMCC and JPMS, FINRA found that JPMS failed to send letters to customer accounts confirming changes in their investment objectives.