SoFi to pay $300,000 to settle SEC charges related to conflicts of interest over 2 proprietary ETFs

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The Social Finance (SoFi) logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.
  • SoFi Wealth has agreed to pay the SEC $300,000 to settle allegations relating to conflicts of interest over two of its ETFs.
  • The SEC sued SoFi for putting preference on placing client assets into its parent-sponsored ETFs rather than third-party ETFs.
  • "These proceedings arise out of breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with its April 2019 investment," the SEC said.
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SoFi Wealth, a unit of fintech firm SoFi Technologies, has agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $300,000 to settle allegations relating to conflicts of interest over two of its proprietary exchange-traded funds.

The regulator on Thursday sued the robo-advisor for putting preference on placing client assets into its newly-created ETFs that were sponsored by its parent rather than third-party ETF. This, then, helped market the SoFi brand as having a broader array of services and products than previously offered, according to the agency.

"These proceedings arise out of breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with its April 2019 investment," the SEC said in its statement.

At that time, San Francisco-based SoFi Wealth transferred assets of 20,000 clients from third-party ETFs into its two proprietary ETFs without informing the clients. To do this, SoFi Wealth, according to the SEC, used the proceeds of the sale to purchase positions in the SoFi ETFs, resulting in some tax consequences for many of the clients.

More specifically, over 15,000 SoFi Wealth clients incurred capital gains as a result of the move, which amounted to $772,000 in short-term capital gains, according to the SEC.

"We're pleased to have resolved this matter with the SEC," a SoFi spokesperson told Insider in a statement. "As a company, we treat compliance with all applicable laws and regulations as our top priority."

SoFi Wealth is an internet-based registered investment adviser that uses proprietary software to provide investment advice. Its parent, SoFi Technologies, went public via a SPAC backed by Chamath Palihapitiya in June.

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