Protecting elderly investors is high on the priority list of the SEC, judging from speeches and notices to members. And the regulator made it clear today that firms that tolerate brokers who exploit elderly clients will pay.
The SEC announced a settlement of $250,000 each with Commonwealth Equity Services, Detwiler, Mitchel, Fenton & Graves and a $50,000 penalty against James McCarty, a supervisor, for failing to supervise Bradford Bleidt, a broker that stole more than $31 million from over 100 mostly elderly clients. Both firms and the named individual neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings that they failed in their supervisory roles. (Both Commonwealth and Detwiler have already paid a combined total of more than $6 million to victims of Bleidt’s fraud.)
“The protection of investors, including senior citizens, must be of foremost importance to broker-dealers and their personnel,” said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of SEC enforcement. “Firms who fail to have or to enforce reasonable policies will be held accountable for their inaction.”
Bleidt, who is serving an 11-year jail term plead guilty in 2005.