American Express said in a regulatory filing this week that it hopes to fend off charges from the NASD by defending certain types of payments to brokers at its American Express Financial Advisors subsidiary. The NASD put American Express on notice that its practice of doling out enhanced commissions for selling nonproprietary mutual funds that participated in a special network potentially oversteps federal securities laws.
NASD officials have accused American Express of creating an illegal conflict of interest by concealing the payment arrangements from shareholders. In addition, American Express was also rebuked for omitting the arrangements from its brokerage confirmation statements.
In February, American Express paid a $3.7 million fine and agreed to reimburse investors to settle charges by securities regulators that it failed to provide mutual fund breakpoints.