The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently fined Investors Capital Corporation $250,000 over the sale of unit investment trusts (UITs). Investors Capital did not admit or deny the allegations leading to the fine, but also agreed to pay $841,500 in restitution to customers, bringing its total payment to over $1 million.
FINRA alleged that certain Investors Capital brokers recommended that customers engage in unsuitable short-term transactions in UITs, and also alleged that the firm failed to apply sales charge discounts that should have been available to some customers. FINRA further alleged that Investors Capital Corporation lacked adequate systems and procedures to supervise the sales of UITs, leading to the violations. Short-term trading in UITs may be uneconomical in many cases due to relatively high up-front sales charges, and UITs are typically recommended only as long-term investments.
Investors Capital’s alleged violations occurred between 2010 and 2015.