Four major US banks fined $9m for risky sales

2 May 2012

Four of the most prominent banks in the US have been fined a combined total of more than $9 million for various failures when selling risky products to investors.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has imposed this seven-figure penalty on Citigroup, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo after it was found they had failed to properly supervise numerous transactions.

An investigation conducted by FINRA - the largest independent financial watchdog in the US which employs 3,200 people - established that these financiers had wrongly monitored sales of leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds.

The body found that these products had been recommended to investors, despite the fact the banks had no "reasonable basis" for doing so.

Brad Bennett, enforcement chief at FINRA, said that the "added complexity" of these funds mean that extra care is required when selling them.

"Firms must conduct reasonable due diligence and ensure that their representatives have an understanding of these products," he added.

By Claire Archer

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