Fidelity Investments, the world's largest mutual-fund company, will pay $400,000 to settle accusations that it misled military personnel while selling them investment plans. The NASD, the main U.S. brokerage watchdog, said two subsidiaries of Boston-based Fidelity made misleading statements in brochures about the performance of "systematic" plans from 2003 through January 2006.
The plans "were sold using various performance charts and data that presented a misleading picture," said James Shorris, the NASD's enforcement chief. They "were sold primarily to military personnel, who often have limited time to study the marketing materials."
Systematic plans typically require that buyers make a fixed number of monthly payments in a given period. Their sale was barred by Congress in the fall, though plans sold previously remain in place.
Fidelity didn't admit or deny the accusations in settling the case.