FINRA Bars Broker Robert Cross Over Private Securities Transactions

shutterstock_113066620The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Robert Cross (Cross) (FINRA No. 2014041637201) of Rome, Georgia. Since August 2006, Cross was registered with Allstate Financial Services, LLC, where he resigned on June 28, 2013. On June 19, 2014, Allstate Financial Services filed a Form U5 amendment disclosing that a customer complaint had been filed against Respondent regarding Cross.

Thereafter, FINRA investigated Cross on the grounds that Allstate Financial Services’ Form U5 amendment stated that a customer complained of breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and negligence related to a collateralized bond obligation. FINRA’s investigation involved Cross’ outside business activities, financial reporting obligations, and whether Cross accepted unapproved loans from a customer while engaging in a private securities transaction – otherwise known in the industry as “selling away”. Thereafter, Cross refused to appear on the record to give testimony drawing an automatic bar from the financial industry.

At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Cross’ outside business activities and private securities transactions. However, according to Cross’ public records his outside business activities include Cross, Cross & Sims, Inc. and CCS Property.

The conduct allegedly engaged in by the brokers is also referred to as “selling away” in the industry. 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.