According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Anthony Sica (Sica) has been subject to three regulatory actions and nine customer complaints. Sica is currently registered with Joseph Gunnar & Co. LLC (Joseph Gunnar). The most recent regulatory action filed against Sica was in January 2018 by the Maryland Securities Commissioner who alleged that when it inquired about information provided to the state Scia agreed to withdraw his registration request. Many of the customer complaints against Sica concerning high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning.
In Novemebr 2017, FINRA found that Sica unsuitable recommendations to an elderly customer living on a fixed income. FINRA alleged that Sica repeatedly recommended that the customer purchase high-risk securities that were inconsistent with her investment profile and resulted in an over concentration of the customer’s account in speculative securities. FINRA also found that Sica engaged in short-term in-and-out trading of the speculative investments in the customer’s accounts causing substantial losses. FINRA alleged that Sica also engaged in unauthorized trading by placing trades in the IRA accounts of a customer who Sica knew was deceased. FINRA suspended Sica for three months.
When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.