SEC slaps Edward Jones with big fine

SEC slaps Edward Jones with big fine

SEC slaps Edward Jones with big fine The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that St. Louis-based brokerage firm Edward Jones and the former head of its municipal underwriting desk have agreed to settle charges that they overcharged customers in new municipal bonds sales.

The $20 million settlement includes $5.2 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest that will be distributed to current and former customers who were overcharged for the bonds.  Wishman [head of municipal underwriting desk] agreed to pay $15,000 and will be barred from working in the securities industry for at least two years. 

“Edward Jones undermined the integrity of the bond underwriting process by overcharging retail customers by at least $4.6 million and by misleading municipal issuers,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division.  “This enforcement action, which is the first of its kind, reflects our commitment to addressing abuses in all areas of the municipal bond market.”

For its part, Edward Jones has taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.

“The SEC expressly acknowledges that we’ve taken positive steps to correct the past practices and generally to enhance the operation of the municipal-bond area,” John Boul, a spokesman for Edward Jones, said in an interview. “We’re happy the matter is resolved and behind us.”