E* E*Trade Securities was censured and fined $90,000 for violating advertising and supervisory system rules in the advertising of a mutual fund, NASD Regulation, the regulatory arm of the National Association of Securities Dealers, announced today.
When E* E*Trade advertised its new mutual fund, the E* E*Trade Technology Index Fund, in August 1999 in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Investors Business Daily and Barrons, it stated that the fund was 'ranked by Morningstar as the lowest cost tech index fund,' although it was not ranked by Morningstar, according to NASD Regulation. Also, the advertisement referred to the 62.4% return of the Goldman Sachs Technology Index, which the fund was seeking to track. But neglected to say that the actual fund had no performance history and was not directly linked to the future performance of the index, according to NASD Regulation.
NASDR also found that E* E*Trade's compliance and supervisory procedures were insufficient regarding its advertising activities. The company did not require its compliance principals reviewing the advertisements to obtain a final version, allowing it to be published without their edits, according to NASD Regulation. The company also lacked a formal auditing procedure to ensure that employees involved in creating advertisements comply with NASD rules.