The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued yet another multimillion dollar penalty over alleged violations related to mutual fund share class selection and 12b-1 fees, again without requiring the defendant to admit the findings.

The latest target is Private Advisor Group, which allegedly invested some of its clients’ assets in higher-cost mutual fund share classes despite less costly ones being available, without disclosing the conflicts of interest involved, according to an administrative proceeding document the SEC published last week.

Since at least 2014, PAG and its investment advisor representatives allegedly avoided transaction fees for wrap client transactions by putting clients’ funds in share classes from a no-transaction fee program offered by its clearing firm, some of which charged 12b-1 fees, the regulator says.

As a result of failing to put clients investments into mutual fund share classes that were more favorable to them, meanwhile, the company also breached its duty of care, including its duty to seek best execution, according to the document.

PAG agreed to a cease-and-desist order and a censure and to pay a $5.8 million civil penalty that will be used to distributed to the allegedly affect advisory clients, without admitting or denying the findings.

The company had around $34 billion in regulatory assets under management, according to its Form ADV filed on April 1, the SEC says.

Revenue-sharing arrangements and mutual fund share class selection has been in the SEC’s crosshairs for several years now.

In 2018, the regulator rolled out a self-reporting amnesty program related to revenue-sharing and conflicts of interest disclosures, which resulted in around $140 million being returned to investors by the time it ended in April 2020.

Since then, the SEC has been reaching multimillion dollar settlements and fining companies thousands of dollars over alleged revenue sharing and share class violations.

Last month, the SEC went after an individual investment advisor over allegations that his advisory firm received 12b-1 fees and sales loads commissions without full disclosure to clients about the inherent conflicts of interest.

In the vast majority of these cases, the defendants agreed to the sanctions, regardless of their size, without admitting or denying the findings — including since October last year, when Gurbir Grewal, director of the Division of Enforcement, promised that the regulator would, “in appropriate circumstances, be requiring admissions in cases where heightened accountability and acceptance of responsibility are in the public interest.”

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