Breaking a long-held pattern, state securities regulators brought more enforcement actions last year against registered individuals and firms than unregistered ones for infractions that ran the gamut from fraud to books and records violations.
That’s according to the North American Securities Administrators Association’s just-released annual enforcement survey, which also noted that a high percentage of frauds were perpetrated through the internet and via gatekeepers like CPAs and lawyers.
In 2015, NASAA’s U.S. members brought enforcement actions against 812 registered industry members, as compared with 791 unregistered individuals and firms.
State securities regulators levied 212 actions involving books and records violations; 70 actions involving suitability; 65 actions involving failure to supervise; and more than 200 actions involving other dishonest or unethical practices by registrants.
Dozens of other actions involved unauthorized trading, churning, selling away and fraud, according to the report.
Other schemes high on NASAA U.S. members’ warning list involve private-placement transactions pursuant to Rule 506, where certain state securities laws are preempted by federal law, the report notes.
During 2015, state securities regulators conducted more than 5,000 investigations.
Through NASAA’s U.S. members’ vigilance, in 2015, state securities regulators brought more than 2,000 enforcement actions against more than 2,700 respondents.