Massachusetts securities regulator William Galvin has fined LPL Financial (LPLA) $250,000 for failing to establish and enforce review procedures for senior-specific titles used by its broker-dealer agents and investment advisor reps.
“In these days when workers are increasingly having to assume responsibility for their retirement savings, it is vital that the financial services industry not employ titles that suggest an expertise in advising senior citizens when none exists,” Galvin said in a statement on Tuesday. “That is why Massachusetts has these rules in place.”
In 2007, Massachusetts was the first federal or state regulator to adopt a rule to protect the public against the use of bogus designations and or titles which imply some expertise or special training for managing seniors’ accounts.
Thirty-three states have adopted the North American Securities Administrators Association’s model rule on senior designations.
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A books and records exam performed by the securities division in Massachusetts of a state-registered investment advisor found that a registered rep affiliated with LPL was using a title that did not conform to the state’s Senior Designation Regulations.
“LPL had approved the use of the title on the agent’s business cards three times,” the securities division states. “Based on this revelation, the Securities Division broadened its investigation into LPL’s compliance procedures for monitoring and approving senior-specific titles and credentials in compliance with the Division’s rule.”