FINRA Arbitration Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (CRD #6363, Minneapolis, Minnesota) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured and fined $50,000. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that it failed to establish, maintain and enforce a supervisory system reasonably designed to detect and prevent one of its broker’s misconduct. The findings stated that a broker who was registered with the firm forged customers’ signatures on various financial documents that he submitted to the firm for processing. The findings also stated that the broker agreed to pay certain fees for customers without alerting the firm in order to avoid complaints from these customers. The findings also included that the broker agreed to be barred from associating with any FINRA firms for this misconduct.
FINRA found that a firm surveillance analyst became aware of potential forgeries by the broker and failed to follow up with a timely investigation, and the firm’s supervisory system did not ensure that a timely investigation was conducted. FINRA also found that the firm had implemented a new set of procedures for its surveillance department through which the firm discovered that the investigation of the broker had not been completed, and the firm promptly reassigned the matter to other surveillance personnel. In addition, FINRA determined that the firm completed its investigation of the broker nearly two and a half years after it first opened the investigation and found ample evidence of repeated forgeries by the broker, whose employment was then terminated. (FINRA Case #2008013648002).