J.P. Morgan Securities will pay $4 million to settle charges that it misled clients about broker compensation, according to the SEC.
Authorities say that J.P. Morgan falsely stated on its private banking website and also in marketing material that its advisors' compensation was “based on our clients’ performance; no one is paid on commission.”
However, the SEC says its investigation revealed that the firm did not compensate advisors based on client performance, instead paying them a salary plus discretionary bonus based on other factors.
The firm "misled customers into believing their brokers had skin in the game and were being compensated based on the success of customer portfolios," Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC Enforcement Division, said in a statement.
Ceresney said that none of the factors used to determine compensation was tied to portfolio performance.
The firm made these misleading statements from 2009 to 2012, according to the SEC. On four occasions, the firm's employees identified the statements about compensation as misleading – yet executives did not correct the mistakes, authorities say.
Without admitting or denying the findings, J.P. Morgan consented to the SEC's findings.
"There was no allegation that the mistake made years ago was intentional or that any client was harmed. We have further enhanced our procedures and processes to prevent a reoccurrence," a spokeswoman for the firm said in an email.
This is the SEC's latest action against J.P. Morgan. Last month, the New York-based firm agreed to pay $267 million to settle charges that it failed to disclose conflicts of interest to clients.