FINRA Bars Broker Brian Sak Over Private Securities Sales

shutterstock_187532306-300x200Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Brian Sak (Sak).  According to brokercheck, Sak consented sanctions and an entry of findings that he failed to provide documents and information requested by FINRA during the course of its investigation into allegations that he solicited a client to invest in an outside business.  FINRA’s investigation followed Morgan Stanely’s termination of Sak in May 2016 after the firm stated that it had concerns related to outside real estate investment with a client that was not appropriately disclosed to the firm.

At this time it is unclear the total scope and extent of these outside business activities and private transactions but according to Sak’s disclosures he is involved in Southside Holdings which is engaged in real estate rentals.  To date five customers have come forward to complaint about investment losses related to Sak’s real estate transactions.

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”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

Sak entered the securities industry in 1999.  From July 2008 until May 2016 Sak was associated with Morgan Stanley out of the firm’s Deerfield, Illinois office location.

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.

The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have represented hundreds of investors in securities related disputes including 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.

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