Overall sanctions imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, including fines and restitution, increased 14% in 2015, jumping to $190 million in 2015 from $166 million in 2014, according to the law firm Sutherland Asbill & Brennan.
The overall sanctions imposed by FINRA increased significantly in 2015 due to $96 million of restitution the self-regulator reported, according to Sutherland’s annual analysis of the disciplinary actions filed by FINRA.
The amount of restitution ordered by FINRA tripled in 2015 while the number of cases also increased for the first time since 2012. Restitution reached a new record for FINRA, increasingf 200% from the $32 million ordered in 2014.
The number of firms expelled by FINRA jumped from 18 in 2014 to 25 in 2015, an increase of 39%, the study notes.
The number of individuals suspended increased from 705 in 2014 to 737 in 2015, an increase of 5%, while the number of individuals barred increased slightly from 481 in 2014 to 492 in 2015, a 2% increase.
FINRA imposed fines of approximately $94 million in 2015, a decrease of 30% from the $134 million in fines the regulator reported in 2014. Despite the decrease, “it was still the second-largest amount of fines imposed by FINRA since the financial crisis,” the study notes. Fines have increased by 236% since FINRA assessed fines of $28 million in 2008.
“This was FINRA’s biggest year since the financial crisis and firms and their representatives should take notice,” said Brian Rubin, a Sutherland partner. “The amount of fines and restitution ordered by FINRA has increased significantly during the last two years and the regulator does not appear to be slowing down.”