According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Judith Bufis (Bufis), formerly associated with Kovack Securities Inc. (Kovack Securities) in East Brunswick, New Jersey has been accused by FINRA over private securities transactions.
In October 2018 Bufis consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that she failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with potential private securities transactions. In so doing she accepted a bar from the securities industry.
At this time it is unclear the nature or scope of the alleged outside business activities (OBAs) and private securities transactions. Bufis public disclosures state that she engaged in the sale of insurance and annuities but discloses not other activities.
Often accompanied with either disclosed or undisclosed OBAs is the risk of the sale of unapproved investment products – a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws. 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. Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds. When advisors convert or misappropriate funds they often created businesses or other vehicles to serve as a cover for the theft of funds. However, federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to 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.
Bufis entered the securities industry in 1983. From January 2006 until December 2014 Bufis was registered with TFS Securities, Inc. From January 2015 until April 2016 Bufis was registered with IFS Securities. Thereafter, from September 2016 until December 2017 Bufis was associated with Invest Financial Corporation. Finally from January 2018 until September 2018 Bufis was registered with Kovack Securities out of the firm’s East Brunswick, New Jersey office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Investors may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein 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.