Numerous affiliates of Netherlands-based ING Groep N.V have agreed to settle allegations by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) that they failed to retain and review millions of emails to and from their brokers. The affiliates, ING Financial Advisors LLC, ING Financial Partners Inc., ING Investment Advisors LLC, Directed Services LLC and ING America Equities Inc., are all indirect subsidiaries of ING Groep.
According to FINRA, from 2004 to 2012, the ING affiliates improperly configured hundreds of employee email accounts, such that, not all emails were retained and subject to supervisory review as required by securities regulations. In addition, FINRA alleged that, between January 2005 and May 2011, four of the ING affiliates failed to have supervisory principals review nearly six million emails that had been flagged for review by the firms’ email software. According to FINRA, the firms’ review software was not configured correctly.
ING issued a statement that the email issues did not affect any customers; and the firms have made significant efforts to improve their email retention and supervisory review procedures.