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May 17, 2017

Kevin Graetz Suspended By FINRA

By |May 17th, 2017|FINRA News|

  Kevin Graetz has settled a FINRA complaint accusing him of failing to report federal and state tax liens against him amounting to over $1 million over nearly seven years. FINRA's Form U4 mandates registered representatives to disclose whether there are any unsatisfied judgments or liens against them. In amendments, Graetz filed to his form [...]

Mar 30, 2017

Corrine Mittag Faces Sanctions From FINRA Over Alleged Email Fraud

By |March 30th, 2017|Broker Check, FINRA News|

Corrine Mittag, formerly a broker with BancWest Investment Services, is looking at sanctions from FINRA for allegedly wiring $34,000 from a client's account without approval and as requested by a fraudulent email, according to the regulator. FINRA ordered that at least one sanction be levied against Mittag, who is now with COR Clearing. In January [...]

Mar 15, 2017

Paul Stanley Of Waddell & Reed Barred By FINRA

By |March 15th, 2017|Broker Check, FINRA News|

FINRA announced that it barred former Waddell & Reed Inc. broker Paul Stanley, who was dismissed by Wadell & Reed in January 2016 for failing to comply with the company's professional conduct, supervisory, and compensation policies. Stanley failed to show up for on-the-record testimony sought by the regulator. He, however, reached a settlement with FINRA, [...]

Mar 2, 2017

Craig David Dima Barred By FINRA

By |March 2nd, 2017|FINRA, FINRA News, Legal Matters, Press Releases & News, Securities Law Violations, Suitability, Unauthorized Trading|

Craig David Dima, an ex-registered representative with K.C. Ward Financial in Ronkonkoma, New York, was barred from the securities industry by FINRA for making unauthorized and unsuitable trades amounting to roughly $15 million in a seventy-three (73) year old retiree's account, as well as for misrepresenting the reasons for all the trades to the customer. [...]

Jan 25, 2017

Buffer Annuities: Why Regulators Are Seeing Complaints

By |January 25th, 2017|FINRA, FINRA News, Legal Matters, Press Releases & News, Suitability, Variable Annuity|

Regulators are beginning to shift their attention toward buffer annuities, a new kind of variable annuity. These annuities are extremely complicated and utilize structured products, rather than mutual funds, in the sub-account as the underlying investment. Donald Lopezi, Senior Vice President and Regional Director of FINRA's western region, has noted that the regulator [...]

Jan 24, 2017

FINRA January 2017 Disciplinary Actions

By |January 24th, 2017|Alabama, Bonds, Broker Check, Churning, Conflict of Interest, Conspiracy, Failure To Supervise, Fiduciary Duties, FINRA, FINRA News, Fraud, Georgia, Hedge, Bond & Mutual Funds, Legal Matters, Master Limited Partnership, Misappropriated Funds, Misrepresentation and Fraud, Non Traded Real Estate Investment Trust, Ponzi Scheme, Press Releases & News, Private Placements, Pump-And-Dump, REIT, SEC, Securities Law Violations, Selling Away, Suitability, Variable Annuity|

FINRA takes disciplinary actions against firms and individuals for violations of FINRA rules; federal securities laws, rules, and regulations; and the rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. Below are a number of penalties announced by the regulator in January 2017. If you have been a victim of any of the below behavior, you may [...]

Jan 19, 2017

Henry Al Dean Watson Barred By FINRA

By |January 19th, 2017|Broker Check, Churning, FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News, Unauthorized Trading|

FINRA announced that it barred an ex-Hilliard Lyons broker, Henry Al Dean Watson, who recently settled a customer complaint accusing him of excessive trading and commissions, unauthorized trades, and portfolio mismanagement. Watson broke FINRA rules by failing to appear to give testimony before the regulator. Watson began in the securities business in 1984. He was registered [...]

Jan 2, 2017

Valic Financial Advisors Fined $1.75M

By |January 2nd, 2017|FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News, Variable Annuity|

Referring to several conflicts of interest regarding how the firm paid brokers selling annuities, FINRA announced that it fined Valic Financial Advisors Inc. $1.75 million. FINRA found that VFA "failed to have a reasonable system to address and review the conflict of interest created by its compensation policy,” the regulator stated. It specifically pointed to occasions [...]

Jan 2, 2017

VFG Securities Settles Claims With FINRA

By |January 2nd, 2017|FINRA, FINRA News, Non Traded Real Estate Investment Trust, Press Releases & News, Suitability|

VFG Securities Inc., a small broker-dealer, and its owner, Jason Vanclef, reached a settlement agreement with FINRA regarding allegations that he and the firm had customers overly concentrated in illiquid investments and had used a book he had written to pump up these alternative investments. FINRA had filed a complaint claiming that the firm failed [...]

Dec 21, 2016

Twelve Firms Fined For Cybersecurity Issues

By |December 21st, 2016|FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News|

FINRA dished out $14.4 million in fines to twelve firms for breaches pertaining to the retention of broker-dealers' and clients' electronic records, which the regulator says made the firms vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. The firms include Wells Fargo & Co. and RBC Capital networks, RBS Securities Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc., LPL Financial, Georgeson Securities Corp. [...]

Dec 7, 2016

Morgan Stanley Fined For Failing To Deliver Fund Prospectuses Online

By |December 7th, 2016|Failure to Deliver, FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News|

FINRA fined Morgan Stanley Smith Barney $1.5 million for technical failures, including a faulty website link that obstructed client's from viewing fund prospectuses. For a number of years before 2013, Morgan Stanley made mandated fund prospectuses available to customers online. However, as the FINRA settlement states, in November 2013, Morgan Stanley updated its [...]

Dec 6, 2016

Wells Fargo Fined $1M For Client Reports

By |December 6th, 2016|Failure To Supervise, FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News|

FINRA fined Wells Fargo $1 million for failing to have instituted reasonable supervisory systems to watch advisors' creation of consolidated reports for clients. The fine and settlement referenced two Wells Fargo firms failing to enforce supervisory systems “for the use of consolidated reports generated by their registered representatives through a particular application that the firms made available” [...]

Dec 2, 2016

Dominic Thomas DeBruin Banned By FINRA

By |December 2nd, 2016|Broker Check, FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News|

FINRA barred LPL Financial broker Dominic Thomas DeBruin for depositing client funds into his personal bank account. The money was "related to potential private securities transaction" that was not disclosed to LPL, a settlement notice issued by FINRA's Department of Enforcement said. In October 2016, FINRA reached out to DeBruin for documents, asking him to [...]

Dec 2, 2016

FINRA Files Complaint Against Dawn Bennett

By |December 2nd, 2016|Broker Check, FINRA, FINRA News, Fraud, Legal Matters, Misrepresentation and Fraud, Press Releases & News, SEC, Securities Law Violations|

FINRA filed a complaint against Dawn Bennett for failing to testify in its investigation of possible fraud related to her clothing company. Bennett did not appear for testimony on four different occasions between April and September of this year, violating FINRA's rules, according to FINRA's complaint. The charges come roughly a year after the regulator [...]

Nov 18, 2016

Oppenheimer & Co. Fined By FINRA

By |November 18th, 2016|FINRA, FINRA News, Hedge, Bond & Mutual Funds, Press Releases & News, Securities Arbitration, Securities Law Violations|

FINRA fined Oppenheimer & Co. $3.4 Million for failures in reporting internal discipline, giving information in arbitration cases, and offering sales discounts to customers. Between 2008 and 2016, the firm was on average four years late making 365 filings with FINRA, pertaining to disciplinary actions it took against its own brokers and arbitration [...]

Oct 21, 2016

Mark Tauzin Suspended For Unsuitable Trading

By |October 21st, 2016|Broker Check, FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News, Securities Law Violations, Suitability|

FINRA suspended former LPL Financial broker Mark Tauzin for engaging in unsuitable short-term trading of unit investment trusts as well as maintaining blank, signed forms in customer files. He was suspended for eight months from any FINRA registered broker-dealer, fined $20,000 and required to pay $205,000 plus interest to 14 sets of clients. That sum represents the [...]

Oct 20, 2016

PIABA Issues Report On BrokerCheck’s Shortcomings

By |October 20th, 2016|Broker Check, FINRA, FINRA News, PIABA|

PIABA, the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association, issued a new report stating that FINRA's BrokerCheck, the primary resource the public uses to learn about brokers and their firms, fails to include vital information, including the reasons a financial professional's employment was terminated and other details investors should have before deciding whether to invest with them. The [...]

Oct 18, 2016

Debra Ferrara Suspended For Fraudulent Wire Transfer

By |October 18th, 2016|Broker Check, FINRA, FINRA News, Fraud, Misrepresentation and Fraud, Press Releases & News|

Debra Ferrara, a former client administrator at Morgan Stanley, was fined and suspended by FINRA for fraudulently transferring a total of $108,680 out of a client's account to third party bank accounts and for falsifying records. Morgan Stanley terminated Ferrara in December 2011 for falsifying information recorded in its books. Ferrara agreed to be fined [...]

Oct 17, 2016

Gregory Bauer Barred By FINRA

By |October 17th, 2016|FINRA, FINRA News, Press Releases & News, SEC, Securities Law Violations|

FINRA barred former Waddell & Reed Inc. broker Gregory Bauer from the securities industry for making over $400,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from his parents' accounts. Bauer, was registered with Waddell & Reed from 2004 to 2013. According to the settlement, for numerous years at the firm, Bauer was the registered representative serving his parents [...]

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