World Equity Group, Inc. (WEG) of Arlington Heights, Illinois submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Department of Enforcement of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for alleged supervisory failures in connection with excessive equity securities trading. WEG, a FINRA member since 1992, has been the subject of similar FINRA disciplinary actions. According to FINRA, between 2009 and 2012, WEG failed to detect and prevent excessive trading, also known in the securities industry as “churning.” Churning is excessive trading in client accounts by a stockbroker to generate commissions. Churning is an illegal activity that violates SEC and FINRA rules. During the relevant time period (2009 through 2012), FINRA alleged that WEG’s supervisory failures led to an ongoing practice of churning. FINRA found a pattern of excessive unsuitable trades in WEG customer accounts, therein violating NASD Rules 3010, 3310, 2310, 2110, and FINRA Rule 2010.
It is the responsibility of the investment advisor and his/her associated member firm to ensure clients are treated fairly and not taken advantage of. Firm representatives are required to recommend investment strategies that comply with multiple criteria regarding an individual including investment objectives, financial status and age. Excessive trading is a violation of FINRA Rules as it generally disadvantages the customer in order for the broker to generate additional commissions.