Citigroup Global Markets Inc. agreed to pay $15.2 million to settle charges that a team of financial advisers misled more than 200 BellSouth employees.
The Citigroup Inc. unit, which includes brokerage firm Smith Barney, will pay $3 million to settle the allegations by the National Association of Securities Dealers. The firm will also pay $12.2 million in restitution to the former employees at BellSouth, now a unit of AT&T Inc.
The NASD suspended three brokers and two branch managers, fining them a total of $295,000. Neither the firm nor the employees admitted or denied the charges.
The NASD said Citigroup failed to adequately supervise financial advisers who used misleading sales materials in dozens of seminars in which they promised 12% annual returns. Although the NASD alleged violations of its rules on just and equitable trade principles, it didn't file fraud charges.
Okay, let's review this again; if it sounds too good to be true....well you know the end of that statement. Brokers are not acting in your best interests; they are acting in their own best interests. Get an investment advisor who doesn't sell financial products. Period.