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Wells Fargo to pay nearly $2.7 million for early UIT rollovers 

Wells Fargo to pay nearly $2.7 million for early UIT rollovers, featured by top securities fraud attorneys, the White Law Group 

FINRA Sanctions Wells Fargo and four other BDs for excessive sales charges 

According to The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on December 13, the regulator has reached settlements with Wells Fargo and four other broker-dealers and obtained more than $16.8 million in restitution to approximately 10,000 investors for the firms’ failures to reasonably supervise early rollovers of unit investment trusts, or UITs. The firms agreed to pay $6.6 million in fines. 

A Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is a form of investment company that offers investors shares, or “units,” in a fixed portfolio of securities in a one-time public offering that terminates on a specified maturity date, often after 15 or 24 months. 

UITs are generally intended as long-term investments and have sales charges based on their long-term nature, including deferred sales charges, and a creation and development fee, according to FINRA. 

FINRA noted that the early rollovers of UITs caused customers to incur potentially excessive sales charges. 

The regulator censured and fined Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network $100,000; and censured and fined Wells Fargo Clearing Services $550,000 plus $2.083 million in restitution. 

FINRA notes that when a registered rep recommends that a customer sell his or her UIT position before the maturity date and then ‘roll over’ those funds into a new UIT, it causes the customer to incur greater sales charges than if the customer had held the UIT until maturity.  

FINRA Launches UIT Rollover Sweep 

After finding that Morgan Stanley failed to reasonably supervise early UIT rollovers in thousands of customers’ accounts, FINRA launched a UIT Rollover Sweep, according to an article in ThinkAdvisor. Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $9.8 million in restitution and a $3.25 million fine. 

In addition to the two Wells Fargo divisions, FINRA identified similar supervisory failures in four other firms including Stifel Nicolaus, Oppenheimer, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup. 

If you are concerned about your investments, the attorneys at The White Law Group may be able to help you. For a free consultation with a securities attorney please call (888) 637-5510.  

The foregoing information, which is all publicly available, is being provided by The White Law Group.  

The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington. 


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