FINRA Sanctions Broker James Madden Over Unauthorized Trades

shutterstock_102757574The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned broker James Madden (Madden) (Case No. 2014040336501) alleging that from March 2010, to February 2014, Madden exercised discretion in executing transactions in the accounts of l5 customers. FINRA found that Madden had received prior verbal authorization from his customers for the transactions but exercised his discretion in executing those transactions on future dates. FINRA found that Madden did not obtain written authorization from his customers to exercise discretion in their accounts and his brokerage firm, Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) did not approve the accounts for discretionary trading.

According to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA Madden has been the subject of at least three customer complaints, one regulatory action, and one employment termination for cause. Customers have filed complaints against Madden alleging securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trades among other claims.

Madden entered the securities industry in 1983. From 1993, until April 2009, Madden was associated with Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Thereafter, from March 2009, until February 2014, Madden was a registered representative with Raymond James. In February 2014, Raymond James filed a Form U5 stating that Madden’s termination was for cause and due to allegations of unauthorized trading. Finally, since February 2014, Madden has been associated with Thurston, Springer, Miller, Herd & Titak, Inc.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. The broker must first discuss all trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).   These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature.

The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Madden is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.

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 where their broker has acted inappropriately. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.