The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred broker Edward Wendol (Wendol) concerning allegations that during the course of FINRA’s investigation into whether Wendol was involved in undisclosed outside business and private securities transactions, also known as “selling away”, Wendol failed to respond to FINRA’s requests. On May 29, 2014, FINRA requested that Wendol provide documents and information. On June 16, 2014, Wendol informed FINRA that he would not provide the requested documents and information or appear and provide testimony. As a result, Wendol was barred from the securities industry.
Wendol first became registered with FINRA in 1993 with South Richmond Securities, Inc. From October 1993, through October 2009, Wendol was registered with seven different FINRA member firms. On December 5, 2011, Wendol registered with Sterling Enterprises Group, Inc. (Sterling). Thereafter, from September 2013, through July 2014, Wendol was associated with WTS Proprietary Trading Group LLC.
The allegations against Wendol are consistent with a “selling away” securities violation. In such a case, the broker sells private securities away from the firm because the investment is not approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. Under the FINRA rules, a brokerage firm owes a duty to properly monitor and supervise its employees. In fact, each brokerage firm is required to establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of each registered representative that is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with the securities laws. Selling away often occurs when supervisory lapse conditions exist. Supervisory lapses include either the failure to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or a failure to implement their supervisory requirements. Many times there obvious “red flags” of misconduct that are overlooked or not properly followed up on.
In selling away cases, investors are often unaware that their broker’s recommendations and transactions are not authorized and potentially illegal. Favorite products of selling away schemes include promissory notes and private placements. Many times the investment ends up being a securities fraud such as a Ponzi scheme. Unfortunately, investors do not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until the investment scheme is publicized, the broker is apprehended, or stops returning client calls.
Investors who have suffered losses through selling away activities may be able recover their losses through arbitration. The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away where brokerage firms fail to supervise their representatives. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.