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Mass. secretary charges Scottrade with fiduciary rule violations

Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts William Galvin has accused Scottrade Inc. of fostering an "aggressive" sales culture that violated federal laws requiring financial professionals to act in the best interests of their clients when working with retirement plans or offering retirement planning advice.

Galvin claims that Scottrade knowingly violated its own internal policies designed to comply with the Department of Labor's Conflict of Interest Final Rule, commonly known as the fiduciary rule.

In a complaint, Galvin alleges that Scottrade ran two sales contests involving retirement assets despite its internal policies implemented to follow the fiduciary rule that prohibit such contests.

The performance of agents who participated in the contests was tracked and appraised, and awards and incentives were given out in connection with retirement assets. The complaint alleges that these contests were in violation of the company's impartial conduct rule and demonstrate a failure of the company to make a good faith effort to comply with the fiduciary rule.

The complaint is seeking a cease and desist order, censure, and an administrative fine against Scottrade.