According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in November 2016, Thomas Oliphint (Oliphint) was discharged and terminated by LPL Financial LLC (LPL) over allegations that Oliphint violated firm policy regarding outside business activities. Oliphint has two other customer complaints on his record. In the industry all such activities must be disclosed and approved by the firm before the broker can engage in them.
According to Oliphint’s disclosures his outside business activities include Oliphint Associates, LLC d/b/a One Advocate Group and Grand Purpose Advocate. At this time it is unclear what outside business activity Oliphint was engaged in that led to his termination. However, the risk to investors is that the broker will use such businesses to engage in unauthorized securities activities. The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”. Brokerage firms are responsible for supervising and preventing such activities.
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 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.