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Barclays settles asset management overbilling case for $97 million

The Securities and Exchange Commission claims that Barclays PLC overbilled clients of its asset management business for tens of millions of dollars and committed other wrongdoing. It had charged the bank civilly, and Barclays agreed this week to settle the matter without admitting or denying wrongdoing.

According to Reuters, the SEC found that Barclays had put some of its brokerage clients in expensive share classes even though less expensive classes were available, causing those clients to pay excess sales charges on their mutual funds.

Other clients -- around 2,000 -- signed up for due diligence and monitoring services that Barclays never performed.

A third group of clients -- representing 22,138 accounts -- ended up paying extra money to the financial services giant due to billing errors and other miscalculations.

All in all, the SEC estimates that the overbillings added up to around $50 million.

"Each set of clients who were harmed are being refunded through the settlement," says the co-chief of the SEC's asset management enforcement unit.

Barclays declined to comment to Reuters on the allegations.

When you put your retirement money into a 401(k), IRA or other investment account, it may end up invested in a mutual fund like one of those affected here. Investment managers might pay a financial services company to perform critical due diligence and to make sure all the appropriate safeguards are in place.

While it's not clear whether any retirement accounts were directly affected by the Barclays overbilling, what is clear is that we keep seeing this happen. More and more people are losing some or all of their money to fraud and other forms of financial wrongdoing.

If the SEC's asset management enforcement unit can get you a refund for your losses, that may work for you. If you've been affected by fraud or mismanagement in the financial services industry, however, you may want to protect your rights directly by hiring a lawyer.

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