Edward D. Jones & Co. agreed to stop making solicitation calls to New Hampshire residents whose phone numbers were registered on the National Do Not Call Registry and pay a $750,000 administrative settlement — one of the largest telecommunications settlements ever paid by a securities firm.
The consent order the state Bureau of Securities Regulation finalized Wednesday with Edward D. Jones, a nationwide broker-dealer with 58 branch offices in New Hampshire, also requires Edward Jones to modify its policies related to telephone solicitations, including training and supervision of its agents. Edward Jones also must revise branch office procedures and report to the bureau on its compliance with the terms of the consent order.
“This settlement is a significant step in curbing unwanted solicitation calls and the risk they may pose to New Hampshire investors,” Bureau of Securities Regulation staff attorney Adrian LaRochelle said.
Bureau deputy director Jeffrey Spill said unwanted solicitation calls can be an issue for investors and regulators. Though that was not an issue in the Edward Jones case, “such calls often cause or contribute to other issues that pose significant risk to the investing public, such as the sale of unsuitable investments and illegal private placements.”
The $750,000 administrative settlement includes repaying the Bureau of Securities Regulation’s costs and a contribution to the New Hampshire Investment Education Fund.
The investigation into violations of telephone solicitation rules was significantly aided by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network, which is a secure web site that allow persons receiving unwanted phone calls to file complaints with the FCC.