According to the settlement, NASD found that Fidelity Distributors Corporation, the principal distributor for the Fidelity family of mutual funds, permitted certain employees hired by the investment advisor FMR Co. to park licenses they held prior to joining Fidelity despite not performing a brokerage role. In addition, the four Fidelity b/ds maintained registrations for 1,100 individuals who did not perform jobs for which an NASD license is required. By parking these licenses, Fidelity enabled them to rejoin a brokerage firm without having to retake the exam, which is required for those who are unregistered for two or more years.
On Monday, the NASD slapped four Fidelity-affiliated b/ds with a $3.75 million fine -- the largest registration-related fine in history -- for violations that included improperly maintaining NASD licenses, lax oversight and email-retention miscues. The fine comes just six weeks after Fidelity said it would pay $42 million to settle claims that its traders accepted lavish gifts from brokers seeking their business. (For more on this story, please read: and .)