Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller‘s office said the investigation focused on possibly collusive conduct by several retail securities brokers and firms that assist the brokers in executing their orders on a stock exchange.
Miller said the alleged behavior may have hindered competition in the retail securities brokerage industry.
E*Trade and TradeKing agreed to create and implement an antitrust compliance policy and training program for their employees. The online brokers also agreed to pay a total of $200,000 to Iowa, Connecticut and Missouri to reimburse the states for their costs of the investigation.
In exchange for the agreements, the states have closed their investigation into E*Trade, TradeKing and their employees.
The agreements with E*Trade and TradeKing mark the third and fourth resolutions that the three state attorneys general have reached in their 14-month investigation. Earlier, Scottrade and TDAmeritrade agreed to provide antitrust training to key employees.
“This case highlights the importance of ensuring that businesses don’t unfairly try to squeeze competitors out of the marketplace,” Miller said in a statement announcing the agreements. “We were concerned that several companies may have coordinated efforts to hinder the introduction of a new product offered to the small investor.”
Loyal3 offers retail investors a fee-free, online platform to purchase securities and fractional shares of publicly traded companies directly from the companies themselves, without the need for traditional online retail brokers.
“This settlement will benefit both big and small investors,” Miller said. “The agreement requires the online retail brokers to enhance their competition compliance measures.”