The SEC said it is now investigating “dozens of broker-dealers and mutual funds that engaged in this practice to determine whether they adequately informed investors of the conflicts of interest.”
The agency said it found that 14 firms took cash from mutual fund investment advisers and 10 funds accepted payments in the form of brokerage commissions on fund trades.
“In return for these payments, 13 of the 15 firms appear to have favored the sale of the revenue sharing funds by providing increased access and visibility in the broker-dealer’s sales networks,” the SEC said.
On Nov. 17, brokerage group Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $50 million to settle charges it failed to tell investors of compensation it got for selling certain funds.
Without admitting or denying the charges, Morgan Stanley agreed to disclose more about its relationships with mutual fund groups.
About half of the brokerages targeted in the SEC probe paid individual brokers more for selling the shares of selected, revenue sharing funds or one of the brokerages’ own funds than for selling other funds’ shares, the SEC said.
About half of the funds targeted disclosed these arrangements, it said.