MORRISON AND PIPER REACH SIGNIFICANT SETTLEMENT
Customers to Receive $345,000 in Restitution
It looks like Christmas will come to Butte early this year, thanks to Piper Jaffray & Co. and State Auditor, John Morrison. Following a recent examination of the Butte branch office, which was the subject of a previous state investigation, the Auditor’s office identified concerns with a number of mutual fund switch transactions in certain customer accounts. Mutual fund switches can be a problem if they are not suitable and are done for the purpose of generating sales commissions. When Morrison’s office revealed their findings to Piper Jaffray, the company stepped up to the plate. Beginning the week of May 15, 2006, nearly 200 Butte residents will receive letters from Morrison’s office offering an aggregate of $345,000 in restitution dollars that Piper Jaffray has set aside to provide to customers related to the transactions identified by the state.
“It is a credit to Piper Jaffray and to the securities industry that once the concerns were identified, they did the right thing, cooperated with us and took immediate steps to return the hard earned dollars to Butte’s citizens,” said John Morrison. “Piper Jaffray has also taken the additional necessary steps to avoid any similar situations in the Butte office.”
Additionally, at the state’s request Piper Jaffray immediately placed one of its sales persons on heightened supervision. Another sales person, who was a former branch manager banned from supervision as a result of Morrison’s earlier action, has retired and agreed to be permanently banned from applying for registration to work in Montana’s securities industry. The restitution amount of $345,000 represents commissions and sales charges on approximately 617 mutual fund switch transactions that occurred in certain customer accounts during 2004 and 2005. The restitution offers will range from $ 43.78 to as high as $16,847.74, with an average restitution offer in the amount of $1,845.07.