Fundsters interested in brokerage managed accounts may want to take a look at an arbitration case Fidelity
] just lost. A Finra panel ordered the Boston Behemoth to pay $110,615 to a retired investor from Fidelity's Portfolio Advisory Services
program whom Fidelity allegedly shuffled from one broker to another.
' Bruce Kelly reports
that the Fidelity client, Viola McNeill, also went after the specific Fidelity brokers in question but that the panel wanted that wiped off the brokers' records because, according to the evidence, the brokers themselves "acted properly and used their best efforts."
Fidelity spokesman Steve Austin told the trade pub that they (Fidelity) "disagree with the panel's findings."
"Fidelity's business model is designed to provide great service," Austin was quoted as saying. "Fidelity has systems in place to track and monitor each interaction and financial planning session so that every representative can be equipped to meet that customer's needs."
NEW YORK, Sept. 21 -- A FINRA arbitration panel, in the case of McNeill v. Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, et al, FINRA Case Number 09-03526, has ordered Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC to pay to an investor $87,850, plus approximately $19,000 in interest and $4,024 in costs, to compensate for damages caused by the firm's systematic shuffling of clients in its Portfolio Advisory Services ("PAS") fee-based management program from one agent to another. PAS is a fee-based active mutual fund asset allocation management program, with approximately $75 billion of client assets under management, typically catering to investors nearing and/or in retirement. Clients are charged a fixed percentage fee to participate in PAS based on the client's assets under management.
The arbitration panel faulted the repeated shuffling of clients from one agent to another, finding that this "caused injury to the Claimant." Fidelity was ordered to pay damages notwithstanding further findings that the two named registered representatives were acting properly and using their best efforts to serve the client.
Neil A. Sussman, Esq.
Sussman & Frankel, LLP
805 Third Avenue, 12th Floor
New York, New York 10022
Attorney to claimant
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
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