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FINRA fines Ameriprise, clearing firm $750,000

FINRA that it has fined Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. and its affiliated clearing firm, American Enterprise Investment Services Inc. $750,000 for failing to have reasonable supervisory systems in place to monitor wire transfer requests and the transmittal of customer funds to third-party accounts. In February 2011, FINRA barred former Ameriprise registered representative Jennifer Guelinas for converting approximately $790,000 from two customers over a four-year period by forging their signatures on wire transfer requests and disbursing the funds to bank accounts she controlled. Following the investigation, Ameriprise paid full restitution to the two customers. FINRA found that Ameriprise and AEIS failed to establish, maintain and enforce supervisory systems designed to review and monitor the transmittal of funds from customer accounts to third-party accounts. The firms did not have policies or procedures to detect or prevent multiple transmittals of funds going to third-party accounts, instead relying on a manual review of wire requests without the benefit of exception reports that could have helped to discern suspicious patterns. Ameriprise and AEIS also failed to adequately track or further investigate wire transfer requests that had been rejected.