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Industry Spotlight > Broker Dealers

Carson Group Hit With $500K FINRA Arb Claim

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Carson Group CEO Ron Carson. Carson Group CEO Ron Carson.

Nearly a month before his registration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ended on Jan. 31, Carson Group, led by Ron Carson, was hit with an excessive fee arbitration claim.

A Dec. 24, 2018, pending dispute listed on BrokerCheck alleges that CWM LLC, Carson’s investment advisor, improperly notified a product sponsor that the client was no longer a client of CWM, which resulted in the client being charged the product sponsor’s standard fees, instead of the lower negotiated rate.

The BrokerCheck disclosure states that CWM had negotiated with certain product sponsors unaffiliated with CWM to charge lower fees to CWM clients.

As a result, the client claims that it was overcharged fees by the product sponsor and also alleges that CWM’s investment advisory fees were excessive. (FINRA does not state whether the client is an individual, group of investors or entity.)

The client is seeking $500,000 in damages.

“For clarification, Carson, in fact, negotiated on the client’s behalf to save the client millions — not cost the client, as stated in the dispute,” Ron Carson said in a statement.

“The firm never received any of the aforementioned fees from the client, a sponsor, or any other third party in exchange for services and, by negotiating great terms, actually made the client millions of dollars on their investment.”

ThinkAdvisor reported in December that Carson dropped his FINRA license because Carson Group has devised a better structure to handle commissions.

Not having to keep pace with FINRA costs and continuing education requirements also “frees up my time,” Carson told ThinkAdvisor, to focus more on Carson Group.

Earlier this year, Carson Group said it added 49 partner firms with $4.4 billion in committed assets under management in 2018, which brings the company a total of 96 partner firms with $7.5 billion of assets.

It trades securities through Cetera Advisor Services.

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