The National Association of Securities Dealers has suspended four brokers for inappropriate sales of B shares on mutual funds, NASD announced Tuesday. A fifth broker is contesting the charges.

The brokers will be suspended for up to nine months and pay a combined total of nearly $120,000 in fines.

The brokers inappropriately recommended B shares on mutual funds, when their clients would have reduced their up-front sales charges through eligible breakpoints on A shares, NASD said.

"In recommending mutual funds with different classes to investors, the broker must put his customer first," said Mary L. Schapiro, NASD vice chairman and president of regulatory policy and oversight. "It is critical that a broker consider the costs of A shares versus B shares for the customer, and not the profit for the broker."

The four brokers are affiliated with James Wheeler & Co., Marsco Investment, Tucker Anthony and UBS Financial Services. The fifth broker, with Staten Securities, is contesting the charges.

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