St. Petersburg's Raymond James & Associates Inc. was fined $1 million Tuesday for violations involving in-house stock transactions. It was the fourth large fine leveled against the company in four years.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an independent securities industry overseer, said Wednesday that Raymond James made "unjustified and improper payments" to finder firms that provided no service in locating securities.
One of the payments was made to a company that employed the son of a Raymond James trader. Raymond James also employed an unregistered broker named Dennis Palmeri who had been convicted of crimes in 1994.
Raymond James agreed to the censure and fine but neither admitted nor denied the allegations that stemmed from 2004. It said it detected and corrected any problems before regulators appeared on the scene.
"After more than four years, Raymond James is pleased to have the matter settled. The concerns raised by FINRA as a result of its investigation did not relate to any Raymond James customers, customer accounts or customer complaints," the company said in a written statement.
It was the fourth hefty fine paid by Raymond James in four years. In 2007 the National Association of Securities Dealers, another industry watchdog, fined it $2.75 million for failing to supervise its independent brokers properly.
The Securities and Exchange Commission punished Raymond James with a $6.9 million fine in September 2005 for lax supervision of a corrupt Rhode Island broker named Dennis Herula. He had run a $16.4 million scam.
Earlier that same year, Raymond James agreed to pay $888,000 in fines and restitution for improperly selling fee-based products.