Waddell & Reed to pay $775K over wrap fee compliance failures


Investment adviser Waddell & Reed will pay about $775,000 as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for compliance failures and breaching its fiduciary duty.

Waddell, based in Kansas, didn’t follow its own compliance policies that required it to check if “wrap” fees were appropriate, according to the SEC’s order. A wrap fee is a grand charge for a bundle of services and is typically relevant to active traders.

At Waddell, some clients who traded infrequently were being charged wrap fees as if they were active traders, a practice referred to as “reverse churning,” the SEC stated. These instances might have been halted earlier if Waddell followed its compliance policies by conducting quarterly reviews of the wrap program and converting certain accounts to brokerage accounts, the agency said.

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