FINRA Bars Financial Advisor Douglas Simanski Over Converting Client Funds

shutterstock_63635611The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory investigation filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Douglas Simanski (Simanski). According to BrokerCheck records Simanski is subject to five customer complaints one FINRA matter and one employment separation for cause.  The FINRA regulatory matter concerns the agencies attempt to investigate the circumstances surrounding alleged sales of private securities transactions and client fund conversion. (FINRA No. 2016049621301).  When Simanski refused to cooperate with the investigation, FINRA automatically barred Simanski from the industry.

According to FINRA, Simanski consented to the sanction and findings related to an investigation into allegations for conversion of funds.  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”.  At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Simanski’s outside business activities and private securities transactions.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, or insurance to clients of those side practices.

Simanski entered the securities industry in 1995.  From 1999 until June 2016 Simanski was registered with Next Financial Group, Inc. out of the firm’s Altoona, Pennsylvania office location.  At that time Simanski was terminated over allegations that he sold fictitious investments and converted the funds for his own personal use and benefit.

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.

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