Berthel Fisher to Pay $775,000 Over Supervisory Claims

Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services agreed to pay $775,000 to settle claims by the brokerage industry’s self-regulator that it failed to supervise the sale of complex investments including leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds.

Marion, Iowa-based Berthel had inadequate systems in place from 2008 through 2012 to oversee the sale of products including certain real estate investment trusts, managed futures, oil and gas programs and business development companies, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said in a statement today.

“A strong culture of compliance is an essential element of the proper marketing of complex products,” Brad Bennett, Finra’s head of enforcement, said in a statement. “Berthel’s supervision of the sales of non-traded REITs, inverse ETFs and other products fell short of this standard.”

Berthel and its affiliate, Securities Management & Research, settled Finra’s claims without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

“We appreciate the need for compliance in our industry, and Berthel Fisher & Company Financial Services as well as Securities Management & Research take that obligation very seriously,” chief executive Thomas J. Berthel said in a statement.

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