The Swiss-based private banking arm of HSBC has agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle charges it offered investment advice to U.S.-based clients without registering with the government. HSBC Private Bank provided services for more than 10 years in the U.S. before it registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency said. The bank collected approximately $5.7 million in fees and its representatives traveled to the U.S. more than 40 times to solicit clients, give investment advice and complete securities transactions even though it was unregistered. The SEC said HSBC Private Bank knew it was violating securities law and the bank's own internal review revealed multiple occasions when U.S. accounts meant to close for compliance remained open. HSBC Private Bank agreed to admit wrongdoing.
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