WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Sept. 14 that it has charged the investment services subsidiary of SunTrust Banks with improperly collecting more than $1.1 million in avoidable fees from clients.

According to the SEC, SunTrust Investment Services wrongly recommended more expensive share classes of different mutual funds, despite the fact that there were cheaper shares of the same funds available. To settle the allegations, SunTrust will pay more than $1.1 million in penalties and refunds.

“SunTrust made self-serving investment recommendations to the detriment of everyday investors who rely on mutual funds to secure their financial futures,” said Aaron W. Lipson, associate regional director for enforcement in the SEC’s Atlanta office.  

“The story has a happy ending for customers with the extra fees back in their accounts, and an obvious lesson for investment advisory representatives that you must always recommend the best deal for your clients, not yourselves.”

Handling the case for the SEC was Brian M. Basinger and supervised by Lipson and Stephen E. Donahue in the Atlanta office with support from the Division of Economic Risk and Analysis. Vincent H. Catrini and Samra Fleschner of the Atlanta office first examined the issue.

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