Enforcement Actions
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
CASES OF NOTE
2011
NOTE: Stipulations of Fact and Consent to Penalty (SFC); Offers of Settlement (OS); and Letters of Acceptance Waiver, and Consent (AWC) are entered into by Respondents without admitting or denying the allegations, but consent is given to the described sanctions & to the entry of findings. Additionally, for AWCs, if FINRA has reason to believe a violation has occurred and the member or associated person does not dispute the violation, FINRA may prepare and request that the member or associated person execute a letter accepting a finding of violation, consenting to the imposition of sanctions, and agreeing to waive such member's or associated person's right to a hearing before a hearing panel, and any right of appeal to the National Adjudicatory Council, the SEC, and the courts, or to otherwise challenge the validity of the letter, if the letter is accepted. The letter shall describe the act or practice engaged in or omitted, the rule, regulation, or statutory provision violated, and the sanction or sanctions to be imposed.
December 2011
Hernan Charry Jr. aka Herman Charry (Principal)
AWC/2010022715607/December 2011
Charry failed to enforce his firmís WSPs regarding the handling of PPM, subscription documents and investor funds for private placement offerings his firm sold, and he failed to effectively supervise the associated personsí handling of such documents
Charry did not prevent the associated persons from sending subscription documents directly to the private placement issuer, which precluded the firm from conducting adequate oversight or review of the transactions and from retaining transaction-related documents.   
Charry failed to review private placement transactions for suitability and typically did not review or approve private placement transactions effected by the associated persons he supervised. He failed to enforce the firmís WSPs and failed to effectively supervise the associated personsí use of non-firm email for securities business. Charry was aware of, and did not prevent, the associated persons from using personal email accounts to conduct securities business. The use of non-firm email accounts prevented the firmís compliance staff from reviewing the associated personsí customer communications, and the firm was unable to retain securities-related communications. 
When Charry resigned from the firm, he left the keys for the office and the key for filing cabinets containing firm customersí non-public personal information with the officeís landlord, who was not affiliated with Charryís firm. This failed to safeguard the customersí non-public personal information and, in addition, made such information available to a non-affiliated third party without providing customers with the appropriate notice, thereby causing the firm to violate Rules 10 and 30 of SEC Regulation S-P. 
Hernan Charry Jr. aka Herman Charry (Principal): Fined $10,000; Suspended 20 business days
Tags:  WSPs    Supervision    Private Placement    Regulation S-P     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Institutional Capital Management, Inc. and Daniel Lee Ritz Jr.(Principal)
AWC/2010022679801/December 2011
The Firm permitted registered persons assigned to a branch office to utilize outside email accounts to conduct firm business, even though the firm did not have a system or procedure in place to capture, preserve and monitor those emails. As a result, the firm failed to preserve all firm-related email communications of registered persons assigned to that branch as required. 

The firm failed to perform any supervisory review of email communications of registered persons assigned to that branch, and that Ritz permitted a firm registered representative to engage in investment advisory activity through the representativeís state-registered investment advisor (RIA) and failed to supervise that activity. Ritz was the principal responsible for supervising the representative, but failed to supervise any facet of his investment advisory business and was generally unaware of what it entailed. As a result of Ritzí lack of supervision, the representative was able to engage in extensive selling-away misconduct without the firmís detection, raising more than $5 million from investors through sales of promissory notes without the firmís knowledge. The firm failed to obtain all required information for some customers who purchased securities through the firm in private placement offerings. 

Institutional Capital Management, Inc.: Fined $65,000

Daniel Lee Ritz Jr.: In light of financial status, no fine; Suspended in Principal capacity only for 4 months
Tags:  Private Placement    Email    Supervision    Promissory Notes     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Kenneth William Gneuhs (Principal)
AWC/2010022715606/December 2011
Gneuhs failed to enforce his member firmís WSPs and failed to effectively supervise the activities of firm associated persons over whom he had supervisory responsibility. 

Gneuhs failed to enforce the firmís WSPs regarding the handling of PPM, subscription documents and investor funds for private placement offerings his firm sold, and failed to effectively supervise the associated personsí handling of such documents. Gneuhs did not prevent the associated persons from sending subscription documents directly to the private placement issuer, which precluded the firm from conducting adequate oversight or review of the transactions and from retaining transaction-related documents. Gneuhs failed to review the firmís private placement sales for suitability, and typically did not review or approve private placement transactions effected by the associated persons he supervised. 
Gneuhs failed to enforce the firmís WSPs and failed to effectively supervise the associated personsí use of non-firm email for securities business. Gneuhs was aware of, and did not prevent, the associated persons from using personal email accounts to conduct securities business. The use of non-firm email accounts prevented the firmís compliance staff from reviewing the associated personsí customer communications, and the firm was unable to retain securities-related communications. 
Kenneth William Gneuhs (Principal): In light of Gneuhs' financial status, no fine; Suspended in Principal capacity only for 20 business days.
Tags:  WSPs    Supervision    Private Placement    Email     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
November 2011
Brookstone Securities, Inc.,David William Locy (Principal),Mark Mather Mercier (Principal), and Antony Lee Turbeville (Principal)
OS/2009017275301/November 2011

While associated with the firm, registered representatives made misrepresentations or omissions of material fact to purchasers of unsecured bridge notes and warrants to purchase common stock of a successor company.

The registered representatives:

  • guaranteed customers that they would receive back their principal investment plus returns, failed to inform investors of any risks associated with the investments and did not discuss the risks outlined in the private placement memorandum (PPM) that could result in them losing their entire investment. The registered representatives had no reasonable basis for the guarantees given the description of the placement agentís limited role in the PPM; and
  • provided unwarranted price predictions to customers regarding the future price of common stock for which the warrants would be exchangeable and guaranteed the payment at maturity of promissory notes, which led customers to believe that funds raised by the sale of the anticipated private placement would be held in escrow for redemption of the promissory notes.

The Firm, acting through a registered representative, made misrepresentations and/or omissions of material fact to customers in connection with the sale of the private placement of firm units consisting of Class B common stock and warrants to purchase Class A common stock; the PPM stated that the investment was speculative, involving a high degree of risk and was only suitable for persons who could risk losing their entire investment. The representative represented to customers that he would invest their funds in another private placement and in direct contradiction, invested the funds in the firm private placement.

The Representative recommended and effected the sale of these securities without having a reasonable basis to believe that the transactions were suitable given the customersí financial circumstances and conditions, and their investment objectives. The representative recommended customers use margin in their accounts, which was unsuitable given their risk tolerance and investment objectives, and he exercised discretion without prior written authorization in customersí accounts.

Acting through Locy, its chief operating officer (COO) and president, the Firm failed to reasonably supervise the registered representative and failed to follow up on ďred flagsĒ that should have alerted him to the need to investigate the representativeís sales practices and determine whether trading restrictions, heightened supervision or discipline were warranted. Moreover, despite numerous red flags, the firm took no steps to contact customers or place the representative on heightened supervision, although it later placed limits only on the representativeís use of margin. The firm eventually suspended his trading authority after additional large margin calls, and Locy failed to ensure that the representative was making accurate representations and suitable recommendations.

Turbeville, the firmís chief executive officer (CEO), and Locy delegated responsibility to Mercier, the firmís chief compliance officer (CCO), to conduct due diligence on a company and were aware of red flags regarding its offering but did not take steps to investigate. 

Acting through Turbeville, Locy and Mercier, the Firm failed to establish, maintain and enforce supervisory procedures reasonably designed to prevent violations of NASD Rule 2310 regarding suitability; under the firmís written supervisory procedures (WSPs), Mercier was responsible for ensuring the offering complied with due diligence requirements but performed only a superficial review and failed to complete the steps required by the WSPs; Locy never evaluated the companyís financial situation and was unsure if a certified public accountant (CPA) audited the financials, and no one visited the companyís facility. Neither Turbeville nor Locy took any steps to ensure Mercier had completed the due diligence process. Turbeville and Locy created the firmís deficient supervisory system; the firmís procedures were inadequate to prevent and detect unsuitable recommendations resulting from excessive trading, excessive use of margin and over-concentration; principals did not review trades or correspondence; and the firmís new account application process was flawed because a reviewing principal was unable to obtain an accurate picture of customersí financial status, investment objectives and investment history when reviewing a transaction for suitability. The firmís procedures failed to identify specific reports that its compliance department was to review and did not provide guidance on the actions or analysis that should occur in response to the reports; Turbeville and Locy knew, or should have known, of the compliance departmentís limited reviews, but neither of them took steps to address the inadequate system.

Brookstone Securities, Inc.: Censured; Fine $200,000

David William Locy (Principal): Fined $10,000; Suspended from 3 months in Principal capacity only

Mark Mather Mercier (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended from 3 months in Principal capacity only

Antony Lee Turbeville (Principal): Fined $10,000; Suspended from 3 months in Principal capacity only

Tags:  Private Placement    Suitability    Supervision    Due Diligence     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Dennis Lee Grossman (Principal)
OS/2008011672301/November 2011

As the AMLCO and president of his member firm,  Grossman failed to demonstrate that he implemented and followed sufficient AML procedures to adequately detect and investigate potentially suspicious activity

Grossman did not consider the AML procedures and rules to be applicable to the type of accounts held at the firm and therefore did not adequately utilize, monitor or review for red flags listed in the firmís procedures. His daily review of trades executed at the firm and all outgoing cash journals and wires, Grossman did not identify any activity of unusual size, volume or pattern as an AML concern. The firmís registered representatives, who were also assigned responsibility for monitoring their own accounts, failed to report any suspicious activity to Grossman. Until the SEC and/or FINRA alerted Grossman to red flags of suspicious conduct, Grossman did not file any SARs.

Grossman failed to implement adequate procedures reasonably designed to detect and cause the reporting of suspicious transactions and, even with those minimal procedures that he had in place at the firm, he still failed to adequately implement or enforce the firmís own AML program. For example, accounts were opened at the firm within a short period of each other that engaged in similar activity in many of the same penny stocks, and several red flags existed in connection with these accounts that should have triggered Grossmanís obligations to undertake scrutiny of the accounts, as set out in the firmís procedures, including possibly filing a SAR.  Additionally,individuals associated with the accounts had prior disciplinary histories, including securities fraud and/or money laundering. Because of Grossmanís failure to effectively identify and investigate suspicious activity,he often failed to identify transactions potentially meriting reporting through the filing of SARs. Moreover, Grossman failed to implement an adequate AML training program for appropriate personnel; the AML training conducted was not provided to all of the registered representatives at the firm. 

Furthermore, Grossman failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system at the firm to address the firmís responsibilities for determining whether customer securities were properly registered or exempt from registration under Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) and, as a result, Grossman failed to take steps, including conducting a searching inquiry, to ascertain whether these securities were freely tradeable or subject to an exemption from registration and not in contravention of Section 5 of the Securities Act. The firm did not have a system in place, written or unwritten, to determine whether customer securities were properly registered or exempt from registration under Section 5 of the Securities Act; Grossman relied solely upon the clearing firm, assuming that if the stocks were permitted to be sold by the clearing firm, then his firm was compliant with Section 5 of the Securities Act. 

Grossman failed to designate a principal to test and verify the reasonableness of the firmís supervisory system, and failed to establish, maintain and enforce written supervisory control policies and procedures at the firm and failed to designate and specifically identify to FINRA at least one principal to test and verify that the firmís supervisory system was reasonable to establish, maintain and enforce a system of supervisory control policies and procedures.

The firm created a report, which was deficient in several areas, including in its details of the firmís system of supervisory controls, procedures for conducting tests and gaps analysis, and identities of responsible persons or departments for required tests and gaps analysis. Grossman made annual CEO certifications, certifying that the firm had in place processes to establish, maintain, review, test and modify written compliance policies and WSPs to comply with applicable securities rules and registrations; the certifications were deficient in that they failed to include certain information, including whether the firm has in place processes to establish, maintain and review policies and procedures designed to achieve compliance with applicable laws and regulations and whether the firm has in place processes to modify such policies and procedures as business, regulatory and legislative events dictate. 

Grossman failed to ensure that the firmís heightened supervisory procedures placed on a registered representative were reasonably designed and implemented to address the conduct cited within SECís allegations; the additional supervisory steps imposed by Grossman to be taken for the registered representative were no different than ordinary supervisory requirements. Moreover, there was a conflict of interest between the registered representative and the principal assigned to monitor the registered representativeís actions at the firm;namely, the principal had a financial interest in not reprimanding or otherwise hindering the registered representativeís actions. Furthermore,Grossman was aware of this conflict, yet nonetheless assigned the principal to conduct heightened supervision over the registered representative. 

The heightened supervisory procedures Grossman implemented did not contain any explanation of how the supervision was to be evidenced, and the firm failed to provide any evidence that heightened supervision was being conducted on the registered representative. Also, Grossman entered into rebate arrangements with customers without maintaining the firmís required minimum net capital. Similarly, he caused the firm to engage in a securities business when the firmís net capital was below the required minimum and without establishing a reserve bank account or qualifying for an exemption. Grossman was required to perform monthly reserve computations and to make deposits into a special reserve bank account for the exclusive benefit of customers, but failed to do so.

Dennis Lee Grossman (Principal): Fined $75,000; Suspended 4 months in Principal capacity only
Bill Singer's Comment
A concise rendition by FINRA.  Assuming that the allegations are not over-blown, the sanctions here are fair and responsive to the cited misconduct.  With year-end upon us, it would be a worthwhile exercise for many of you to read this case and use it as a checklist -- how do you measure up?
J.P. Turner & Company, LLC and James Edward McGrath (Principal)
OS/2009016612701/November 2011

McGrath failed to reasonably supervise a registered representative who recommended and effected unsuitable and excessive trading in a customerís account. McGrath had supervisory responsibility over the registered representative and was responsible for reviewing his securities recommendations to ensure compliance with member firm procedures and applicable securities rules. McGrath failed to reasonably supervise the registered representative by, among other things, failing to enforce firm account procedures and failing to respond to red flags regarding the registered representativeís trading activity in the customerís account.

The firmís supervisory procedures required McGrath to review account transactions, such as the registered representativeís recommended transactions in the customerís account, on a daily and monthly basis for, among other things, general suitability, excessive trading and churning, in-and-out trading and excessive commissions and fees; the firmís procedures also required that McGrath review all exception reports related to the individuals who he supervised and take appropriate measures as necessary. Through these required reviews, McGrath was aware of red flags of possible misconduct in the customerís account, including frequent short-term trading, excessive commission and margin charges, high turnover and cost-to-equity ratios, and substantial trading losses, and the account frequently appeared on the firmís exception reports; McGrath failed to reasonably respond to and address the red flags in the customerís account.

McGrath never spoke with the customer despite the fact that the firmís compliance department sent several emails to McGrath advising him that the customerís account needed customer contact as required by the firmís WSPs; McGrath never spoke with the customer directly to confirm that he was aware of the activity level in his account or that such activity was appropriate in light of his financial circumstances and investment objectives.

McGrath failed to ensure that an Active Account Suitability Supplement and Questionnaire was sent to the customer within the time frame the firmís WSPs required. Moreover, months after the registered representative began trading in the customerís account, McGrath instructed the registered representative to curtail the short-term trading in the account and hold positions for a longer period; that was the only time McGrath spoke to the registered representative about the customerís account. Furthermore, McGrath reduced the registered representativeís commissions for purchases in the customerís account, but this measure did not have the desired impact; the registered representative actually increased the number of purchases and frequency of short-term trading to offset the effects of the commission reduction until the customer closed the account after suffering losses of approximately $120,000.

McGrath failed to take any action against the registered representative based on his failure to comply with his instructions; among other things, McGrath never restricted the trading in the customerís account, spoke to the customer, placed the registered representative on heightened supervision, recommended disciplinary measures against him to address these concerns, or spoke with the firmís compliance department regarding the supervision of the registered representative. The firm allowed the registered representative to effect transactions in the customerís account for months without obtaining a signed and completed new account form from the customer, and failed to enforce its review of active accounts as the WSPs required. The firm failed to send a required suitability questionnaire to the customer until almost a year after the account had been opened and suffered significant losses, failed to qualify his account as suitable for active trading and failed to perform a timely quarterly review of the account.

J.P. Turner & Company, LLC: Censured; Fined $20,000

James Edward McGrath (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended 10 business days in Principal capacity only

Tags:  Suitability    Supervision    Commissions     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment

What really stopped me in my tracks was the allegation that McGrath cut the RR's commissions for purchases but this resulted in the RR's increasing buy orders and the frequency of short-term trades. Frankly, if a supervisor even thinks that it's necessary to cut commissions in order to promote better compliance practices by an RR, it might simply be a good time to fire the RR rather than keep your fingers' crossed -- particularly if you're not reaching out to the customers for insight. 

A very generous settlement offer from FINRA to McGrath given the widespread nature of the allegations.

October 2011
Birkelbach Investment Securities, Inc. and Carl Max Birkelbach (Principal)
OS/2009016354101/October 2011

Acting through Birkelbach, the Firm failed to adequately supervise to ensure the timely reporting of customer settlements. Birkelbach relied on an unregistered outside consultant to process Rule 3070 filings and amendments to Applications for Broker-Dealer Registration (Forms BD) and Uniform Applications for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Forms U4), gave the consultant inadequate instructions and guidance, and did not otherwise ensure that timely and complete filings and amendments were made.

Birkelbach neglected to instruct the consultant to process disclosures or otherwise take action to correct the deficiencies until a later date, even after FINRA advised him of the deficiencies.

Birkelbach and the firm failed to ensure the timely reporting of settlements with customers on 3070 filings and the amendment of Forms BD and Forms U4 to disclose this information.

Birkelbach Investment Securities, Inc.: Censured; Fined $10,000, jointly and severally with Carl Birkelbach

Carl Max Birkelbach: Censured; Fined $10,000, jointly and severally with Birkelbach Invst.; Fined additional $15,000; Suspended 30 days in all capacities; Suspended 90 days in Principal capacity only; Required to requalify by examination as a principal.

Tags:  Supervision    Supervisory System     |    In: U4, U5, RE-3, Rule 3070
Bill Singer's Comment
Okay, fine -- HOWEVER, why is it that when it's a smaller firm these failure to supervise cases also reference BOTH the FINRA member firm and the individual principal, but when it's a larger firm either only the member firm gets whacked, or, if FINRA also names a larger firm's principal that it's done in a separate decision?
September 2011
Brian Scott Brewer (Principal)
OS/2005002244102/September 2011

Brewer failed to adequately supervise a registered representativeís variable annuity sales activities.

Brewer personally reviewed and approved variable annuity switches of the registered representativeís customers despite the misstatements and omissions on the switch forms and numerous red flags revealing that the transactions were unsuitable. After becoming aware of the inaccurate information and omissions contained in the forms the registered representative submitted, Brewer did not require that all of the deficiencies be corrected on his member firmís books and records and that customers be presented with forms that were completely accurate. At no time did Brewer take any action to reverse the transactions the registered representative had already effected, nor did he take any actions to prevent the registered representative from completing additional unsuitable switches.

Brewer was responsible for replying to the audit reports and implementing adequate systems and procedures relating to the supervision of variable annuities at his firm; although he was made aware of issues in the variable annuities sales review process cited by the firmís Audit Division, he failed to take adequate steps to correct the identified failings. Brewer failed to maintain an adequate system of supervision and follow-up review, and failed to maintain and enforce written procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations and FINRA rules in connection with the sale of variable annuities.

Brian Scott Brewer (Principal): Fined $20,000; Suspended 12 months in Principal capacity only
Tags:  Variable Annuity    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Vision Securities Inc. and Daniel James Gallagher
2008011701203/September 2011

Gallagher acted as a principal of his member firm without being registered as such and the firm allowed Gallagher to act in an unregistered capacity.

Gallagher failed to adhere to the heightened supervisory requirements FINRA imposed and the agreements he entered into with three states; because of his controlling role at the firm and the transitory nature of supervision at the firm, he was able to sidestep the heightened supervision requirements. The firm failed to ensure that Gallagherís heightened supervisory requirements from the states and FINRA were being followed, and failed to have a system to adequately monitor Gallagherís compliance.

Gallagher was responsible for the firm adhering to the requirements to establish, maintain and enforce written supervisory control policies and ensuring the completion of an annual certification certifying that the firm had in place processes to establish, maintain, review, test and modify written compliance policies and WSPs to comply with applicable securities rules and regulations. The firm failed to conduct the analysis required to determine whether, as a producing manager, Gallagher should have been subjected to the heightened supervision requirements.

The firm failed to establish, maintain and enforce written supervisory control policies and procedures and failed to identify at least one principal who would establish, maintain and enforce written supervisory control policies and procedures. In addition, through Gallagher, the firm, failed to ensure that an annual certification was complete, certifying it had in place processes to establish, maintain, review, test and modify written compliance policies and WSPs to comply with applicable securities rules and regulations.

Moreover, FINRA found that the firm failed to report customer complaints against Gallagher and one customer-initiated lawsuit in which he was listed as a defendant.

Furthermore, the firm failed to make the necessary and required updates to Forms U4 and U5 for representatives to reflect customer complaints, arbitrations and lawsuits within the required 30 days.

Thefirm failed to conduct and evidence an independent test of its AML program, and failed to conduct and evidence an annual training program of its CE program for its covered registered persons.

While testifying at a FINRA on-the-record interview, Gallagher failed to respond to questions.

Gallagher willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 with material facts. Gallagher appealed the decision to the NAC and the sanction is not in effect pending the appeal.

Vision Securities Inc.: Censured; Fined $60,000

Daniel James Gallagher: Barred

Bill Singer's Comment

Gallagher willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 with material facts. Gallagher appealed the decision to the NAC and the sanction is not in effect pending the appeal.

August 2011
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Adrienne Barrett Tubridy (Supervisor)
AWC/2008013864402/August 2011

Deutsche Bank held contractual agreements with third-party investment advisers who provided financial services to firm customers through the firmís adviser select program for a fee the customers paid, and the firm customers granted discretionary trading authority to the third-party advisers. The  agreements contained a confidentiality clause prohibiting firm employees from using the third-party advisersí portfolio recommendations for other clients.

The firm instituted a written policy and procedure manual distributed to firm employees, including Tubridy, that contained guidelines related to the adviser select account and prohibited shadowing adviser select accounts, but the firm did not implement any specific systems to detect and prevent shadowing; no exception reports were created to identify shadowing, no applicable training was conducted, and no supervisory systems were put in place to monitor accounts for possible shadowing. 

In one branch office while Tubridy was responsible for performing trade reviews, shadowing was egregious and continued for years. Although the firm did not implement exception reports to identify shadowing, shadowed trades were flagged for other reasons, which required Tubridy to follow up; she examined and approved shadowed trades on the exception reports, made notations on certain trades, which indicated an awareness of shadowing, but failed to follow up on the information and neglected to raise the issue with compliance or her supervisors.

Through shadowing, firm registered representatives circumvented the fee arrangement the firm had in place for the adviser select program and violated the provisions of confidentiality agreements prohibiting the use of the third-party investment advisersí proprietary information. In addition, the firm and involved registered representatives failed to pay a combined total of over $200,000 to third-party investment advisers. Moreover,the firm failed to establish, maintain and enforce an adequate supervisory system to detect and prevent shadowing, and Tubridy failed to recognize and follow up on ďred flagsĒ of shadowing.

Once the firm learned that shadowing had occurred, with Tubridyís assistance, it conducted an extensive and immediate internal investigation across all branch offices to identify and halt any other shadowing activity.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.: Censured; Fined $350,000.  In assessing the fine, FINRA took into account financial benefits the firm obtained, and the firmís discovery, reporting, investigation and corrective measures are reflected in the sanctions.

Adrienne Barrett Tubridy: Fined $10,000; Suspended 10 days in Supervisory capacity only; Required to cooperate with FINRA in its prosecution of any other disciplinary action related to these events by, among other things, meeting with and being interviewed by FINRA staff without the need of staff to resort to FINRA Rule 8210, and testifying truthfully at any related hearing.

Tags:  Shadowing    Investment Advisor    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment

Yeah, okay, I get it.  However, I'm not really sure that this is a "regulatory" issue for FINRA as much as it may be a bit of civil litigation for any aggrieved third-party advisors who believe that they were damaged  by the shadowing.  Ultimately, there are only so many hours in a regulator's day and only so many dollars to get the job done. Diverting attention to a contractual matter such as this may well have prevented FINRA from uncovering activity of a far more damaging manner that harmed unsophisticated individual investors.  I'm just not that concerned about "shadowing" in relationship to far more serious frauds being run on individual investors everyday.

Sometimes there's only one fire truck and two fires -- life presents difficult choices like that all the time.

July 2011
Kenneth Richard Campbell III (Principal)
AWC/2010024997001/July 2011

Campbell failed to enforce his member firmís heightened supervisory procedures with respect to one of its representatives. 

According to those procedures, Campbell was responsible for determining the scope of the heightened supervision and ensuring that the representativeís supervisor was enforcing the heightened supervision plan. The firm required that the plan be individualized based on the representativeís disciplinary history. Campbell placed a representative on heightened supervision because of his disciplinary history, and the plan Campbell prepared was deficient because it was not tailored to that representativeís history of engaging in private securities transactions and did not provide for any material additional supervision beyond the usual steps that were taken to oversee other firm representatives. Campbell failed to ensure that the plan was implemented and, as a result,the following actions that were required pursuant to the plan were not undertaken:

  • a log was not created of the representativeís trades,
  • certifications were not made to the compliance department that the heightened supervision plan was implemented, and
  • and an annual review of the plan did not take place.
Kenneth Richard Campbell III (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended 1 month in Principal capacity only.
Tags:  Supervision    Heightened Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
As we have often noted in RRBDlaw.com, it's bad enough not to undertake proper supervision; however, when you have pointedly prepared a supervisory plan (particularly one for heightened supervision), regulators take a particularly dim view when there is no meaningful implementation and the very steps, policies, and procedures that you drafted are not followed.
Lauren Tricia Cyrus (Principal)
AWC/2009017399501/July 2011

Cyrus failed to supervise representatives at her member firm who made unsuitable recommendations to customers at their firm.

Cyrus was responsible for supervising the representatives but failed to take appropriate action to supervise the representatives that was reasonably designed to prevent their violations and achieve compliance with applicable rules. Cyrus failed to adequately review and follow up on the over-concentration of the customersí liquid assets in preferred stocks and the risks associated with those securities.

Lauren Tricia Cyrus (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended 1 month in Principal capacity only
Tags:  Supervision    Concentration     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
In 2011, FINRA has really increased its failure to supervise docket -- perhaps more so than in any prior year that I can recall.  A common thread in these cases seems to be that FINRA is showing little (if any) tolerance these days for supervisors who have written policies and procedures pertaining to individuals requiring enhanced supervision, or for aspects of the firm's business involving suitability issues.  In this matter, Cyrus is charged with failing to "adequately" review over-concentration indicia.  It's not that there was no review whatsoever but, rather, the review was not deemed to reasonably address the circumstances.
June 2011
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
AWC/2008013648002/June 2011

Ameriprise failed to establish, maintain and enforce a supervisory system reasonably designed to detect and prevent one of its brokerís misconduct. The broker who was registered with the firm forged customersí signatures on various financial documents that he submitted to the firm for processing. The broker agreed to pay certain fees for customers without alerting the firm in order to avoid complaints from these customers. The broker agreed to a Bar.

An Ameriprise surveillance analyst became aware of potential forgeries by the broker and failed to follow up with a timely investigation, and the firmís supervisory system did not ensure that a timely investigation was conducted.

The firm had implemented a new set of procedures for its surveillance department through which the firm discovered that the investigation of the broker had not been completed, and the firm promptly reassigned the matter to other surveillance personnel.  The firm completed its investigation of the broker nearly two and a half years after it first opened the investigation and found ample evidence of repeated forgeries by the broker, whose employment was then terminated.

Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. : Censured; Fined $50,000
Tags:  Forgery    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
You just can't take 2 1/2 years to investigate forgery allegations -- and then think that a termination of the broker is the end of it. A lousy $50,000 fine on a member firm such as Ameriprise is hardly calculated to underscore the seriousness of such a lackadaisacal compliance effort.
Canaccord Genuity, Inc. fka Canaccord Adams, Inc.
AWC/2009016251601/June 2011

The Firm failed to adopt and implement WSPs reasonably designed to supervise its research analysts and ensure that its research reports complied with NASD Rule 2711. Although the firm maintained some relevant WSPs, those procedures did not provide any real guidance to its employees about the specific steps they needed to take to achieve compliance with Rule 2711. The WSPs required that all public appearances by firm analysts be approved by the research director, that the appropriate disclosures be made to the media outlet, that a record documenting the disclosures provided to the media be maintained, and that the firmís marketing department receive a copy of such disclosure. The WSPs made the research analyst responsible for meeting these obligations but provided little or no guidance on how these tasks could be successfully carried out or supervised.

The WSPs contained provisions broadly describing what portions of draft research reports could and could not be provided to covered companies, but failed to provide specific guidance to firm employees regarding the manner in which these requirements were to be fulfilled.

The WSPs permitted the research department to send sections of a research report to a subject company before publication to verify the accuracy of information in those sections, provided that a complete draft of the research report was first provided to the compliance department.

The Firm sent research report excerpts to a subject company before its compliance department had received a complete draft of the report, and in one of those instances, the complete draft was not sent to the compliance department. Moreover, in connection with public appearances by its research analysts, the firm failed to retain records that were sufficient to demonstrate compliance by those analysts with the disclosure requirements of NASD Rule 2711(h).

Canaccord Genuity, Inc. fka Canaccord Adams, Inc. : Censured; Fined $22,500; Required to review its supervisory system and procedures concerning research reports and the supervision of research analysts for compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws and regulations, and to certify in writing within 90 days that the firm completed its review and that it currently has in place systems and procedures reasonably designed to achieve compliance with those rules, laws and regulations
Tags:  Research    Supervision    WSP     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Time and time again, firms get lulled into a false security that merely having written prohibitions is sufficient oversight and supervision. As this settlement amply demonstrates, it's not enough to prohibit an activity -- you must specify what is prohibited, how notifications/approvals must be obtained, and your Compliance Department must be more than a mere repository for rubber stamps that say "Approved" or "Denied".
David Elijah McKee (Principal)
AWC/2008011640801/June 2011

In his capacity as the vice president of compliance, McKee failed to supervise certain aspects of his member firmís securities business

Acting on his firmís behalf, McKee failed to

  • establish and maintain a supervisory system or written supervisory procedures reasonably designed to detect and prevent the firm from charging excessive commissions on mutual fund liquidation transactions;
  • adequately supervise the firmís communications with the public;
  • adequately supervise the firmís compliance with NASD Rule 3070 and Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5) reporting provisions and customer complaint recordkeeping requirements; and
  • comply with NASD Rules 3012 and 3013, in that the Rule 3012 and 3013 reports that he prepared on his firmís behalf were inadequate.

Thee firmís 3012 report for one year was inadequate because it failed to provide a rationale for the areas that would be tested, failed to detail the manner and method for testing and verifying that the firmís system of supervisory policies and procedures were designed to achieve compliance with applicable rules and laws, and did not provide a summary of the test results and gaps found. The 3012 report also failed to detect repeat violations including, the failure to conduct annual Office of Supervisory Jurisdiction (OSJ) branch office inspections, advertising violations, customer complaint reporting and ensuring that all covered persons participated in the Firm Element of Continuing Education.

The firm's 3013 report for one year did not document the processes for establishing, maintaining, reviewing, testing and modifying compliance policies to achieve compliance with applicable NASD rules, MSRB rules and federal securities laws, and the manner and frequency with which the processes are administered. In addition, the firm failed to enforce its 3013 procedures regarding notification from customers regarding address changes.

David Elijah McKee (Principal): Fined $15,000; Suspended 30 business days in Principal/Supervisory capacities only
Tags:  Annual Compliance Certification    Supervision    WSPs     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment

These types of cases always strike me as "sloppy" because they largely have to do with failures to document actions that have usually been taken.  Pardon my cynicism but, hey, even the preparation of an insincere report is better than simply failing to prepare any report.

Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated
AWC/2009017072302/June 2011

A former associated person and employee of Morgan Stanley in its New York Position Services Group (NYPS) misappropriated approximately $2.5 million from the firm, institutional firm customers and a firm counterparty by entering, or causing to be entered, numerous false journal entries into the firmís electronic system to transfer and credit money associated with corporate actions.

The former employee entered, or caused to be entered, into the firmís electronic system requests for checks to be issued to his shell corporation against the suspense and/or fee accounts that he was using to misappropriate funds. The former employee entered some check requests himself, which NYPS employees that reported to him later approved. The former employee caused employees who reported to him to enter check requests, and he used the identification number and password of another NYPS employee who reported to him to enter the remaining check requests; he later approved all of the check requests.

Failed Oversight/Review

Morgan Stanley failed to establish and implement an adequate system of follow-up and review of journal entries and adequate procedures for reviewing and approving check requests related to corporate actions.

No review procedures

The firm did not have any procedure to review the former associated personís check requests and journal entries.

In addition, the firm failed to properly supervise the former associated person and failed to detect that he entered, or caused to be entered, false check requests and false journal entries related to corporate actions, which allowed him to misappropriate approximately $2.5 million from the firm, its institutional customers and a firm counterparty.

SOMJ

The firm introduced a new system, the Summary of Manual Journals (SOMJ), to replace the review of all journal entries and require the review and approval of journal entries that the firm determined to be high priority. Furthermore, these journal entries remained on the SOMJs until a supervisor reviewed and approved them, and the former associated person was assigned to review and approve all high-priority journal entries flagged on the SOMJs, including his own.

Security Flaw

The firm assigned some NYPS supervisors, all of whom reported directly to the former associated person, to review and approve journal entries flagged on SOMJs, but nobody was assigned to review high-priority journal entries entered by anyone not on one of those teams, including the former associated person. The firm failed to have a system to inform NYPS management if journal entries flagged on the SOMJs were not approved. The former associated person made numerous journal entries, some of which were flagged as high-priority; he approved several of them; many were not reviewed and were listed on the SOMJs pending approval at the time of his termination.

Check Requests

Check requests NYPS personnel entered were required to be approved by another NYPS employee, but the firm did not require the person approving the check to be a supervisor or have supervisory responsibility; as a result, NYPS associates approved check requests an NYPS supervisor entered, and entered check requests on a supervisorís behalf, which the supervisor subsequently approved. In addition, FINRA determined that the firm did not require any review to determine if the check request was associated with a corporate action and the approver simply ensured that all the required information was included in the check request.

Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated : Censured; Fined $375,000
Tags:  Checks    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
That's quite a hole in Morgan Stanley's security protocol -- and lucky for them, they only got dinged for $2.5 million.  These "nested loop' types of failures are not uncommon and typically you have policies/procedures that have been amended and revised over time that inadvertently result in a given supervisor reviewing his/her own transactions without any secondary oversight.  At some point, Compliance Departments should consider bringing in a third-party to go through their written policies and procedures to see if a fresh set of eyes uncovers any supervisory dead-ends or conflicts.
Portfolio Advisors Alliance, Inc. and Marcelle Long (Principal)
OS/2008011640602/June 2011

Respondents failed to put any heightened supervisory measures in place for a branch manager or to follow up on ďred flags.Ē Notwithstanding the branch managerís remote location, prior disciplinary history, outside business disclosures or his disclosure that he was potentially under financial stress and unable to meet financial obligations, the Firm and Long failed to put any heightened supervisory measures in place or to follow up on the red flags after he disclosed information on a compliance questionnaire, for which the affirmative answer required that he attach a separate sheet providing complete details about the disclosed activities, which Long did not complete or enforce. Also, the firmís and Longís heightened supervision of the branch manager was inadequate in that it consisted only of inspecting his office annually and speaking on the phone on a fairly regular basis. Long inspected the branch managerís branch office, and although she was aware that the manager was involved in certain outside business activities, based on the disclosures that he made on his Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4), she admitted that she did not inspect any files or financial records associated with his disclosed outside business activities and did not detect any undisclosed outside business activities or private securities transactions.During a subsequent inspection, Long again did not review documentation regarding the branch managerís disclosed outside business activities and did not detect any undisclosed outside business activities or private securities transactions.

Additionally, the branch manager had participated in private securities transactions wherein he had raised more than $1.5 million from investors, many of whom were firm customers.

In addition, the firm and Long failed to review or retain email communications on the branch managerís outside email account, and Long did not review his outside email account during her inspections of his branch office. Moreover, FINRA found that the firm did not have any supervisory procedures regarding the review and retention of email communications on outside email accounts.

Portfolio Advisors Alliance, Inc.: Censured; Fined $35,000

Marcelle Long: Fined $7,500; Suspended in Principal/Supervisory capacity only for 30 days

Bill Singer's Comment

At first blush, the sanctions appear a bit harsh but after it all sinks in -- nah, FINRA seems to have had the punishment about right.  Given the history of the subject branch manager and the apparent supervisory lapses, the Principal is lucky that she got off with only a 30-day Principal/Supervisory suspension. The sanctions against her could have been far worse and, frankly, with some justification.

Either I'm getting mellow in my old age or FINRA is starting to get some things right.  Whoa -- did I really write that?

Robert Joseph Oftring (Principal)
AWC/2009019996501/June 2011

Oftring was responsible for supervising a former registered representative of his member firm and failed to take appropriate action to reasonably supervise her to detect and prevent her violations and achieve compliance with applicable rules in connection with a customerís account. Among other things, Oftring failed to take reasonable steps to follow up on certain indications of potential misconduct that should have alerted him to the representativeís violations.

The representative engaged in excessive, short-term trading in the customerís account, which resulted in losses of approximately $60,000; the account was subject to frequent margin calls and transfers from a third-party account to satisfy margin calls in the account, and once, the representative transferred funds back to the third-party account by forging the customerís signature on an LOA.

Oftring was aware of

  • the active trading in the customerís account and knew that the representative was effecting securities transactions in the account while it had a negative balance, but he never stopped the representative from trading and never contacted the customer to discuss the activity; and
  • and approved the transfer of funds between the customerís account and the third-party account, and accepted the representativeís explanation for the same without contacting the customers involved in the transfers.
Robert Joseph Oftring (Principal): FIned $5,000; Suspended 6 months in Principal capacity only
Tags:  Supervision    LOA    Margin    Forgery     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Although I'm not often a fan of these failure-to-supervise cases because they too frequently involve the luxury of hindsight, this one strikes me as having merit.  Frankly, given the red flags, I would have expected at least a call to the customers to confirm that everything's okay. While it may often be acceptable to ask the registered person for his/her explanation, sometimes you simply have to take that extra step and talk to the client.
May 2011
Charles Hyman Brown (Principal)
AWC/2008011707003/May 2011

Brown failed to reasonably supervise a registered representative of his member firm who churned a customer trust account and recommended investments to the elderly beneficial owner of the trust account that were inconsistent with the customerís investment objectives, financial situation and needs.

Brown served as the assistant branch manager for his firmís branch office and, as such, was one of the individuals at the firm with supervisory responsibility over the registered representatives at the branch office. There were numerous red flags indicating that the registered representative was churning the trust account and recommending unsuitable investments to the customer:

  • the appearance of the account on numerous exception reports concerning active and aggressive trading;
  • the accountís relatively substantial fluctuations in value, including relatively significant declines in value in a certain year;
  • the customerís age;
  • the $2,500 monthly withdrawals that the customer was taking from the account; and
  • the prior customer complaints against the registered representative.

Despite these red flags, Brown failed to take adequate supervisory action reasonably designed to prevent the representativeís churning of the trust account and recommendations of unsuitable investments to the customer.

Charles Hyman Brown (Principal): $5,000 Fine; Suspended 30 days in Principal capacity only
Tags:  Churning    Elderly    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Years ago, there was a time when this type of failure to supervise might not result in any fine, much less a suspension.  Times have changed. Clearly. If you're going to supervise, you better consider the warnings inherent in this case.
Lloyd Kramer (Principal)
AWC/2008011707004/May 2011

Kramer failed to reasonably supervise a registered representative of his member firm who churned a customer trust account and recommended unsuitable investments to the trust accountís elderly beneficial owner. Kramer served as a compliance officer for his firm, and as such, was one of the individuals at the firm with supervisory responsibility over the registered representatives at a branch office.

There were numerous red flags indicating that the registered representative was churning the trust account and recommending unsuitable investments to the customer. The red flags cited by FINRA were the:

  • appearance of the account on numerous exception reports concerning active and aggressive trading;
  • accountís relatively substantial fluctuations in value, including relatively significant declines in value in a certain year; 
  • customerís age;
  • $2,500 monthly withdrawals that the customer was taking from the account; and
  • prior customer complaints against the registered representative.

Despite these red flags, Kramer failed to take adequate supervisory action reasonably designed to prevent the representativeís churning of the trust account and recommendations of unsuitable investments to the customer.

Lloyd Kramer (Principal): Fined $5,000; Suspended 30 days in Principal capacity only
Tags:  Supervision    Elderly    Churning     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
Now that's how to present a monthly enforcement case!  Maybe FINRA is finally starting to take the years and years of hints. Instead of the usual conclusory allegations of "failed to respond to red flags," FINRA offers us meaningful examples of what should have been spotted. 
Puritan Securities, Inc. nka First Union Securities, Inc. and Nathan Perry Lapkin (Principal)
AWC/2009017339801/May 2011

Acting through Lapkin, the Firm failed to enforce its heightened supervisory procedures for a representative placed on heightened supervision based on his prior disciplinary history. Lapkin was responsible for implementing the heightened supervision plan, which required review of the representativeís correspondence on a daily basis, review of all of the representativeís transactions prior to execution, quarterly reviews with the representative of his business, and quarterly review of the representativeís journal of all conversations that resulted in any business. Lapkin did not perform any of the required steps and the firm failed to take any steps to ensure that he followed the plan. The firm, acting through Lapkin, allowed a representative to continue using a website, which is deemed an advertisement pursuant to NASD Rule 2210, that promoted investments to be made through the firm, even though it violated the content standards of the rule. The website failed to provide a sound basis for evaluating the investment products being promoted, and contained exaggerated, incomplete and oversimplified statements comparing alternative investments to traditional investment products. Also,  the website further made unsubstantiated claims by identifying investments as ďpremierĒ alternative investments and stating that alternative investments can help dampen volatility and provide protection in down markets without providing a credible basis for these claims. In addition, the website also compared alternative investments to publicly traded investments, but failed to disclose all of the material differences between the investments, including the risks associated with the alternative investments.

Acting through Lapkin, the Firm allowed its representatives to sell shares of a fund through a flawed PPM that failed to disclose that the fundís manager had been terminated from his member firm because, according to his Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration (Form U5), he had misreported, falsely input and reported late into the firmís internal booking systems for bond transactions, and that the fund manager had misreported numerous nondeliverable forward transactions, causing false profits on his profit and loss statements. Lapkin was aware of the content of the fund managerís Form U5 and knew that the PPM was silent about it. This omission was material because, as disclosed in the PPM, the fundís trading decisions relied primarily on the fund managerís knowledge, judgment and experience.

Puritan Securities, Inc. nka First Union Securities, Inc.: Censured, Fined $10,000 (A lower fine was imposed after considering, among other things, the firmís revenues and financial resources.)

Nathan Perry Lapkin: Fined $10,000; Suspended in Principal capacity only for 15 business days.

 

Tags:  Supervision    Private Placement    Website     |    In: U4, U5, RE-3, Rule 3070
Bill Singer's Comment
Interesting and well-presented case. Shows how an individual has increased regulatory exposure when he/she is on "notice" of circumstances that otherwise might not be known.
April 2011
Robert Lee Keys (Principal)
OS/2009017125101/April 2011

Keys made untrue statements and omissions in connection with the sale of a security; specifically, Keys recommended that a customer invest $1.1 million in a promissory note and represented to the customer that the promissory note was secured by $1.1 million in United States Treasury Bonds, when in fact, no such bonds existed. Keys provided wiring instructions to the customer in connection with the recommended purchase directing her to wire funds to the bank account of the issuing entityís owner. Keys failed to investigate and discover that no treasury bonds existed, and instead relied on information he was given during a conference call initiated by the issuerís owner to an unknown individual who claimed to be a representative of a well-known financial institution, the purported current custodian of the bonds; and Keys failed to investigate whether the unknown individual was in fact the financial institutionís employee.

At the time of Keysí recommendation to the customer, he did not disclose the compensation, direct or indirect, that he expected to receive. The first time the customer discovered that any commission would be paid in connection with the sale of the note was when she received the note itself, delivered several weeks after she had wired the funds for the purchase; the note disclosed that a commission would be paid in connection with the note, but it erroneously stated that $50,000 would be paid to Keysí member firm, and it did not disclose that Keys wholly owned the entity that received an additional $50,000. Keys was responsible for establishing, maintaining and enforcing his firmís supervisory control policies and procedures, but failed to implement reasonable supervisory controls when he failed to ensure that an individual at the firm who was senior to or otherwise independent of himself supervised and reviewed his customer account activity.

Robert Lee Keys (Principal): Barred
Tags:  Promissory Notes    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
That's one hell of an "oops."  I wonder how much of the $1.1 million the customer recovered, if anything.
February 2011
Bobb Arthur Meckenstock (Principal)
OS/2008011612602/February 2011

Meckenstock failed to reasonably supervise a registered representative at his member firm in that the registered representative participated in sales of stock that were outside the course or scope of the registered representativeís employment with the firm. Meckenstock participated in certain sales of the stock himself, and failed to record the sales on the firmís books and records as required by NASD Rule 3040(c).

Meckenstock failed to submit a written request to participate in the sale of stock, failed to receive written approval to participate in the transactions and failed to provide written approval to the registered representative to participate in the sales.

Meckenstock failed to conduct sufficient due diligence on the offering, failed to investigate the nature of the individual with the issuer, failed to investigate his relationship with the issuer, failed to question him about any additional sales he may have made to firm customers, and failed to investigate compensation that the registered representative was promised or received from the sale of the interests in the company.

Meckenstock failed to adequately supervise the resale of stock through a registered investment adviser (IA) the representative owned, and failed to review the IAís books and records, which would have disclosed the representativeís sale of his shares of the stock to public customers.

Meckenstock reviewed a private placement memorandum and offering for his firm and approved it as a suitable investment, but failed to ensure that the issuer had established an escrow account, thereby failing to adequately supervise the sale of the offering and causing his firm to violate Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c2-4. In addition, Meckenstock failed to evidence his supervisory review and approval of customersí purchases of interests in numerous offerings.

Bobb Arthur Meckenstock (Principal): Fined $10,000; Suspended 30 days in Principal capacity only
Tags:  Supervision    Due Diligence    Escrow    Private Placement     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
A classic private placement cascade effect that flows into everything that it touches -- failure to supervise, due dilly, escrow, outside activities, and on and on.
Christopher Gregory Gibas (Principal)
AWC/2005002244703/February 2011

Gibas failed to reasonably supervise a registered representative at his member firm by approving variable annuity transactions the representative recommended and affected; in approving these transactions, Gibas did not adequately respond to red flags that should have alerted him that the transactions were unsuitable.

Gibasí firm placed the representative under heightened supervision, which was formalized by a written agreement the representative and Gibas signed, and under the agreement, Gibas was required, among of things, to pre-approve all the representativeís annuity business and new accounts, to speak with each of the representativeís customers who were 65 or older, and to help the representative diversify her business.

With respect to the variable annuity transactions, they were unsuitable, in that the transactionsí costs outweighed the benefits, and in some of those transactions, the customers purchased a rider for which they were not eligible. At the time Gibas approved these transactions, there were numerous red flags regarding the representativeís variable annuity transactions, including transactions appearing on exception reports, that should have alerted him to the potential unsuitability of her transactions and required follow-up more comprehensive than Gibas otherwise took. Gibas did not adequately carry out his other responsibilities under the firmís heightened supervision of the representative; although Gibas reviewed the representativeís transactions and contacted certain elderly customers before those transactions were affected, some of the conversations with the representativeís customers lasted only a few minutes, were conducted when the representative was present, or before Gibas received any paperwork regarding the proposed transaction. While Gibas met with the representative, as well as with other supervisory and compliance personnel at the firm, none of the steps taken proved effective in preventing the representativeís unsuitable sales.

Christopher Gregory Gibas (Principal): Fined $10,000; Suspended 5 months in Supervisory/Principal capacities only
Tags:  Variable Annuity    Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
Bill Singer's Comment
A well-presented and compelling FINRA disciplinary case.  I like that it not only sets forth what the Principal didn't do but also suggests, by inference, what he should have done.
UBS Securities LLC
AWC/2010022093601/February 2011

UBS failed to reasonably supervise a junior trader on its Fixed Income Emerging Markets Latin American desk (the LatAm desk) who, by various means, made false and inaccurate entries into the firmís trading systems for non-deliverable forward (NDF) transactions and bond transactions, which caused incorrect calculations of his risk positions and profit and loss (P&L), overstating his profits and understating his losses; in contrast to other traders on the LatAm desk, the firm gave the junior trader authority to enter NDF transactions directly into internal trading systems.

In each instance, the junior traderís presumed goal was to conceal an unrealized loss associated with an actual transaction and/or create the appearance of a fictitious profit in connection with both actual and fictitious transactions, and by manipulating these trading systems, the junior trader was able to make undetected amended, late, mispriced and fictitious NDF transactions by which he concealed more than $28 million in trading losses.

The firmís existing policies and procedures did not adequately address the junior traderís ability to make entries directly into the trading systems; the firmís electronic supervisory system did not capture NDF trade data, and the firm failed to establish supervisory systems or procedures to reasonably ensure that the junior traderís entries were complete and accurate and that his trading system entries matched.

The firm likewise failed to establish policies and procedures providing for its creation and maintenance of required books and records of NDF transactions entered for its account, and failed to have written supervisory procedures, for the amending, settling and confirming of NDF transactions.

The junior trader concealed losses to the firm of approximately $700,000 through various false entries made in the firmís Bloomberg system, and the firmís electronic supervisory system did not capture his bond data.

The firm failed to provide the junior traderís supervisor with reports concerning the junior traderís trading in NDF and certain bonds that were necessary to supervise the junior traderís activities, and it failed to make and keep current a memorandum of each NDF transaction the junior trader entered. Moreover, based on false, delayed and fictitious entries the junior trader made in connection to his NDF and certain bond transactions, the firmís records of his and the LatAm Deskís overall P&L and corresponding risk positions were not accurate. Furthermore, when the issues concerning the junior traderís trading came to light, the firm conducted an internal investigation to identify the errant bond and NDF transactions and calculate the losses incurred in connection with them; thereafter, the firm instituted remedial measures to prevent a recurrence in the future.

UBS Securities LLC : Censured; Fined $600,000
Tags:  Supervision     |    In: Cases of Note : FINRA
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