FINRA fines and disciplinary actions in 2011 increased sharply, a result of the regulator’s more robust market surveillance and whistleblower protections, according to a FINRA Sanctions Survey released by a Washington law firm.

Fines in 2011 jumped 51% to $68 million, up from $45 million in 2010. It was a major reversal from 2010, when there was a $5 million drop in the total amount of fines imposed. Fines grew at a faster rate than the number of actions filed, because the regulator imposed more $1 million fines on firms than they did in the previous year, according to Brian Rubin a partner at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, the firm that conducted the survey.

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