According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Brian Royster (Royster), formerly associated with HD Vest Investment Services (HD Vest), in November 2017, was barred from the financial industry by FINRA concerning allegations that he borrowed funds from clients. FINRA found that Royster consented to the sanction and findings that he refused to comply with a FINRA request for documents related to its investigation into the circumstances surrounding his termination from HD Vest. FINRA found that HD Vest filed a Form U5 terminating Royster’s registration and stating that he had violated its policy regarding borrowing money from clients.
In addition to the bar Royster has been subject to two customer complaints concerning his variable annuity sales practices.
At this time it is unclear the extent and scope of Royster’s securities violations and outside business activites. The firm’s allegations concern borrowing of funds could be considered a private securities transaction – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.
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.
Royster entered the securities industry in 2004. From March 2010 until July 2013 Royster was associated with Edward Jones. From September 2013 through January 2014 Royster was associated with LPL Financial LLC. Finally from Jauary 2014 until January 2017 Royster was associated with HD Vest out of the firm’s Ann Arbor, Michigan office location.
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.