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Wealthfront, Hedgeable to pay penalties in SEC action

The SEC charged robo-advisers Wealthfront Advisers LLC and Hedgeable Inc. for making false statements and misleading advertisements about investment products.

Wealthfront failed to monitor client accounts for any transactions that could trigger a wash sale, which can reduce tax-harvesting strategy benefits, according to the SEC. The company also improperly re-tweeted client testimonials and paid for client referrals without the required disclosures, and failed to maintain a reasonable compliance program.

The company has been ordered to pay a $250,000 penalty and is required to cease from further violations. Wealthfront did not admit or deny the charges.

Hedgeable was charged with misrepresenting its investment performance by comparing it to the performance of two competitors, while including only those client accounts which had higher-than-average returns.

Hedgeable did not admit or deny the charges but agreed to pay a penalty of $80,000 and to avoid further violations.