Articles Tagged with Ameriprise

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has imposed a $1.75M penalty on Ameriprise (AMP) related to its sale of F-Squared Alpha Sector strategies. The financial firm must also disgorge $7.3M.

According to the regulator, F-Squared Investments made mistakes when calculating the historical performance of its Alpha Sector investment strategies. These sector rotation strategies were predicated upon the use of an algorithm that gave off a “signal” noting whether to sell or purchase certain exchange-traded funds that collectively comprised the industries in the S & P 500 Index.

However, claimed the regulator, F-Squared erred when it implemented these signals prior to when they could have happened. The Commission accused the firm of employing back-tested and hypothetical historical performance data that was inflated, rather than using what the AlphaSector’s performance would have been if there hadn’t been any signal-related errors, to come up with the investment’s track record.

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Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. has arrived at a nearly $31M settlement with plaintiffs of a class action securities case. They are accusing the retirement service provider of charging excessive fees in its retirement plans. The 401k lawsuit involved MassMutual’s $200M Agent Pension Plan and its $2.2B Thrift Plan. The settlement includes a $30.9M payment and non-monetary provisions that would benefit participants of the plan.

The case is Dennis Gordan et al v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. et al, and plaintiffs include ex-plan participants and current ones. They are accusing defendants of breaching their fiduciary duty under ERISA through the charging of excessive administrative fees and offering a costly and unnecessarily risky fixed-income choice, as well as investments that were expensive despite not performing well.

The non-monetary provisions of the settlement include the hiring an independent consultant to make sure that plan participants are not asked to pay excessive fees for record-keeping services or record-keeping fees based on asset percentages, a review a of all investment options, and the consideration of a minimum of at least three finalists when making an investment selection.

The settlement has been submitted to a district court for preliminary approval. MassMutual has not admitted to liability or fault despite settling.

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Registered investment adviser Hanson McClain is suing Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. (AMP) and Thomas Chandler for purportedly taking confidential client data and soliciting its customers. The investment adviser says that not only is this a contract breach but also it violates California law. Chandler was formerly an investment adviser for Hanson McClain, which has about $1.6 billion in assets under management.

Hanson McClain submitted its complaint in September, just days after Chandler departed. In November, the court allowed a preliminary injunction barring Ameriprise and Chandler from getting in touch with the clients under dispute and ordering them to give back certain documents until the case is resolved. In December, the RIA submitted an amended complaint requesting a permanent injunction barring Chandler from soliciting clients. Hanson McClain wants compensatory damages as well as the return of its clients’ information.

The firm says that Chandler took the data from its servers, moving the information to a personal email account. The data allegedly includes account numbers, names, net worth, and other pertinent information for clients whose total net worth is around $540,000. Hanson McClain also claims that Chandler asked for the emails of its “platinum” clients and then connected with them via LinkedIn. The RIA contends that Ameriprise and one of its branch managers worked with Chandler to take the information.

Former Ameriprise Financial (AMP) Manager Reema D. Shah, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud earlier this year, will pay $390,103 to settle both the criminal and Securities and Exchange Commission cases against her. Shah, who was a tech stock picker for Ameriprise subsidiary RiverSource Investments, LLC, illegally recommended Yahoo Inc. stock in 2009 after she became privy to nonpublic data about a search engine partnership between the technology company and Microsoft Corp.

According to government officials, Shah traded information between ’04 and ’09 with research analysts, hedge fund managers, and consultants, including Robert W. Kwok, who was the source of the data about Yahoo and Microsoft. Shah previously gave information to Kwok about the company Autodesk and its acquisition of Moldflow Corporation. Kwok went on to buy 1,500 Moldflow shares, allegedly because of the tip, and made a $4,750 profit.

The regulator claims that because of the insider trading information that Kwok gave her, Shah compelled certain funds that she helped manage to buy about $700,000 Yahoo shares. These were later sold at a $388,807 profit.