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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently announced that it has fined Northern Trust Securities $600,000 for deficiencies in supervising sales of collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and failure to have adequate systems in place to monitor certain high-volume securities trades.
FINRA found that from October 2006 through October 2009, Northern Trust failed to monitor customer accounts for potentially unsuitable levels of concentration in CMOs, in large part because it used an exception reporting system that failed to capture or analyze substantial portions of the firm’s business, including all CMO transactions, certain trades of 10,000 equity shares or more, and certain trades of 250 or more of fixed-income bonds. FINRA found that from January 2007 to June 2008, 43.5 percent of the firm’s business was excluded from review.
The absence of systems to monitor equity trades of over 10,000 shares or fixed income trades of over 250 bonds also resulted in a failure to review these trades for suitability, concentration, excessive trading, excessive mark-ups or commissions, or for trading in restricted stocks.