FINRA Hits Oppenheimer with a $2.9 Million Fine for Failure to Supervise ETF Sales

Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. (Oppenheimer) has been hit with a fine of $2.25 million and ordered to pay restitution to affected customers of over $716,000 for failing to supervise the unsuitable sales of leveraged, inverse and inverse-leveraged exchange-traded funds (non-traditional ETFs). According to FINRA, Oppenheimer failed to enforce its own policies with respect to the solicitation and recommendation of ETFs by its registered representatives. Although Oppenheimer put ETF-related policies in place in 2009 (in response to FINRA Regulatory Notice 09-31), its representatives continued to solicit customers and to execute non-traditional ETF transactions despite the customers not meeting Oppenheimer’s criteria for suitability, e.g. having liquid assets of more than $500,000.  FINRA’s findings state that Oppenheimer representatives carried out more than 30,000 ETF transactions, totaling approximately $1.7 billion during the relevant time period.

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