Weak WSPs Result in Failure to Supervise Charges
The SEC charged a broker-dealer with failing to supervise because its Written Supervisory Procedures failed to adequately detail how firm employees should respond to regulatory red flags. The SEC asserts that the firm failed to supervise a broker that charged with participating in a penny stock pump-and-dump scheme. The SEC maintains that the firm uncovered multiple red flags including a supervisor’s report, customer emails, arbitrations, and FINRA examinations. However, the SEC alleges, the firm’s WSP’s did not specify who should investigate or how such investigations should proceed. The firm did conduct two “flawed investigations” that failed to document its findings or detail a remedy. The Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office advised broker-dealers that this case “sends a clear message that we will not tolerate broker-dealers that fail to exercise appropriate supervision over employees.”
OUR TAKE: We predicted that the regulators would hold brokers accountable for the bad actions of their registered reps. WSPs should follow the 5 Ws Rule: Who is responsible? What is to be done? Why are you doing it? When is it due? Where should it be presented?