On May 1, 2018, FINRA Department of Enforcement entered into a settlement via Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) with Respondent Laidlaw & Company. Without admitting or denying any wrongful acts, Laidlaw consented to a public censure by FINRA, the imposition of a $25,000 fine, as well as agreeing to give FINRA a written statement saying that systems mentioned in the AWC are designed to achieve compliance with “applicable securities laws, regulations, and rules.
FINRA Enforcement alleged that from April 2014 through December 2015, Laidlaw did not establish and maintain a supervisory system and written supervisory procedures (WSPs) designed to ensure that recommendations of leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs) complied with applicable securities laws and FINRA rules.
Non-Traditional ETFs are risky financial products because they are designed to return a multiple of an underlying benchmark or index over the course of a trading session. They are not intended to be held for more than a single trading session. FINRA Regulatory Notice 009-31 states “The performance of Non-Traditional ETFs over periods of time longer than a single trading session can differ significantly from the performance of their underlying or benchmark during the same period of time.”