FINRA Sanctions Broker Darrin Farrow Over Private Securities Transactions

shutterstock_178801082The investment fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the employment termination filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (Royal Alliance) and the regulatory action filed by FINRA involving broker Darrin Farrow (Farrow). According to BrokerCheck records Farrow has been subject to one customer complaint, one employment separation for cause, and two regulatory actions.

According to Royal Alliance, the firm terminated Farrow after alleging Farrow received information that he was involved in an outside business activity not approved by the firm.  Thereafter, in June 2016, FINRA suspended Farrow after alleging he participated in two undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) without disclosing his involvement to his firm. (FINRA No. 2015045751101).  FINRA found that Farrow founded an unincorporated entity that provides consulting services to the cannabis industry and also cultivates, produces, and manufactures cannabis and he also formed a Delaware limited-liability company that grows cannabis and supplies it to dispensaries throughout Oregon.  According to FINRA Farrow participated in undisclosed private securities transactions with firm customers involving the sale of $1 million of membership interests.

The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.  According to brokercheck records Farrow has disclosed OBAs listed as including MonsterShares LLC – an investment related business, Mad Farmaceuticals, DBF Properties, LLC, Adviceware, and MM Herndon LLC.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

Farrow entered the securities industry in 1989.  From August 2009 until February 2010, Farrow was registered with Triad Advisors, Inc.  From February 2010 until June 2015, Farrow was associated with Royal Alliance.  Thereafter, from June 2015 until May 2016, Farrow was registered with Triad Advisors out of the firm’s Rocky River, Ohio office location.

In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  However, even though when these incidents occur the brokerage firm claims ignorance of their advisor’s activities the firm is obligated under the FINRA rules to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion.  In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public.  Selling away misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system.  Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.

In cases of selling away the investor is unaware that the advisor’s investments are improper.  In many of these cases the investor will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized, the broker is fired or charged by law enforcement, or stops returning client calls altogether.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration.  The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.