FINRA Charges Charles Schwab & Co With Violating FINRA Rules by Using Class Action Waiver in Customer Agreements
WASHINGTON – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has filed a complaint against Charles Schwab & Company charging the firm with violating FINRA rules by requiring its customers to waive their rights to bring class actions against the firm.
FINRA’s complaint charges that in October 2011, Schwab amended its customer account agreement to include a provision requiring customers to waive their rights to bring or participate in class actions against the firm. Schwab sent the amended agreements to nearly 7 million customers.
The agreement also included a provision requiring customers to agree that arbitrators in arbitration proceedings would not have the authority to consolidate more than one party’s claims. FINRA’s complaint charges that both provisions violate FINRA rules concerning language or conditions that firms may place in customer agreements.
FINRA’s complaint seeks an expedited hearing because Schwab’s conduct is ongoing, as the firm has continued to use account agreements containing these provisions in opening more than 50,000 new customer accounts since October 2011.
The issuance of a disciplinary complaint represents the initiation of a formal proceeding by FINRA in which findings in the complaint have not been made, and does not represent a decision. Under FINRA rules, a firm or individual named in a complaint can file a response and request a hearing before a FINRA disciplinary panel. Possible remedies include a fine, censure, suspension or bar from the securities industry, disgorgement of gains associated with the violations and payment of restitution.
The FINRA complaint may be found at http://www.finra.org/web/idcplg?IdcService=SS_GET_PAGE&ssDocName=P125516
If you have an investment claim against Charles Schwab, you are entitled to arbitrate your case before FINRA. Contact us a www.investmentfraudlaw.com