Adviser Stuart Henley Sanctioned by Regulator Over Trading Activity

shutterstock_152933045-300x200Adviser Stuart Henley, previously employed at Calton and Associates, Inc. (Calton), has been subject to a customer complaint, discharged for his handling of client accounts, and was suspended and fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  Additionally, Henley has also been subject to a tax lien. His most recent customer complaint alleges churning, excessive trading, and unsuitable trading.

According to a BrokerCheck report, in September 2016, a customer alleged that Henley excessively traded their account to gain commission. The matter was settled for $800,000. Moreover, in March 2018, Morgan Stanley discharged Henley for engaging in unauthorized trading.  Thereafter, FINRA sanctioned Henley and he consented to findings that he exercised discretion in an elderly customer’s account without receiving acceptance of the account as discretionary by his member firm. Further, FINRA stated that although Henley had been given express or implied authority to exercise discretion in the account, the customer did not provide written authorization for Henley to exercise discretion.  Moreover, according to FINRA Henley provided inaccurate responses on annual compliance questionnaires submitted to the firm by falsely indicating that he not exercised discretion in any customer account.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typically trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions.  A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements.  Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim.  These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

Furthermore, Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior consent from the investor. All brokers, who do not have discretionary authority to trade an account, are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). Under the NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b), a broker is prohibited from trading in a non-discretionary customer account without prior written authorization from the customer. Unauthorized trading is a type of investment fraud because the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has found that disclosures of trades being made are essential and material to an investor. Unauthorized trading is often a gateway violation to other securities violations including churning, unsuitable investments, and excessive use of margin.

Henley entered the securities industry in 1985. From 1985 through 1986, Henley was registered with IDS Market Corporation. From 1986 through 1991, Henley was registered with Lehman Brothers, Inc. From 1991 through 1999, Henley was registered with Painewebber, Inc. From 1999 through 2018, Henley was registered with Morgan Stanley. Finally, from June 2018 through August 2018 Henley was registered with Calton.

At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to excessive trading and unauthorized trading violations.  Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation.  Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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