Federal regulators have imposed $19 million in penalties on mutual fund and variable annuity units of a large financial services company.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has negotiated the settlement to resolve allegations that four John Hancock companies, units of Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto, used fund and VA assets to pay more than 55 broker-dealers through revenue-sharing arrangements.
The Hancock companies made some disclosures about broker-dealer compensation in fund and VA documents, but the disclosures were not adequate to warn either investors or the fund and VA trust boards about conflicts of interest, SEC officials say.
The Manulife units have accepted the terms of the SEC settlement without admitting or denying the findings in the settlement order, officials say.
“The practices that are the subject of this settlement ended long ago,” Hancock says in a statement about the SEC settlement. “We have cooperated fully with the SEC and are pleased to put this matter behind us.”
Long before the current settlement was announced, Hancock examined its revenue-sharing practices, the company says.
Hancock “is confident that its practices meet SEC guidance as clarified by the SEC in 2004,” the company says.
Manulife acquired John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Boston, in 2004.
In the settlement order, SEC officials say John Hancock Investment Management Services L.L.C., Boston and John Hancock Distributors L.L.C., Toronto, companies that were owned by Manulife from 2001 until late 2004, directed about $15 million in commissions to 55 broker-dealers through revenue-sharing arrangements.
John Hancock Advisors L.L.C., Boston, a company that was owned by John Hancock Financial Services Inc. from 2001 to 2004, directed about $2.9 million in brokerage commissions to 12 broker-dealers through revenue-sharing arrangements, SEC officials say.
John Hancock Funds L.L.C., Boston, which also was owned by the old Hancock, received about $2.1 million in credit against revenue-sharing obligations, SEC officials say.