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BDs Peddling Private Placements Are Being Targeted by Mass Regulator

July 3, 2018

Secretary of State William Galvin’s office is investigating sales of private placements at LPL Financial and nine other broker-dealers where at least 15% of the brokers they employ have a disciplinary mark on their records, according to a statement from Galvin’s office cited by ThinkAdvisor.

The state’s top securities watchdog is also looking into private placement sales at Advisory Group Equity Services, Arthur W. Wood Company, Bolton Global Capital, BTS Securities, Detwiler Fenton & Co., Moors & Cabot, Inc., Santander Securities, U.S. Boston Capital and Winslow, Evans & Crocker, according to the publication.

The announcement comes about a week after the publication of a Wall Street Journal analysis that found firms which employ so-called “bad brokers” are more likely to also sell private placements.

Last year around 1,200 firms sold a record $710 billion in private placements, and the Journal found more than 100 firms among these sellers where 10% to 60% of the brokers had at least three disclosure records.

“Private placements are risky investments that reward the salesperson handsomely with high commissions. Firms offering these to the public, especially seniors, have an obligation to see that they are sold to benefit the investor, not the broker,” Galvin says in a statement cited by ThinkAdvisor. “Individuals with a history of disciplinary actions magnify the risk of unsuitable sales in connection with private placements.”

SEC chairman Jay Clayton has also recently zeroed in on private placements, saying at a recent town hall that the regulator is “looking at our private placement rules; they can use a sprucing up,” according to ThinkAdvisor.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the ThinkAdvisor article cited in this story, click here.