The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned and barred broker Daniel Retzke (Retzke) concerning allegations Retzke refused to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into possible private securities transactions and the soliciting of a loan (also referred to as “selling away”). According to FINRA BrokerCheck records Retzke has disclosed outside business activities include Country Inn & Suites, Galena Lodging Photography, Galena Lodging, and Retzke LLC. It is unclear whether FINRA’s investigation concerns these particular outside business activity. In addition, there have been at least three customer complaints filed against Retzke some which allege unsuitable investments.
ln December 1983, Retzke first became registered with a FINRA firm. In January 1992, Retzke became associated with Edward Jones. On November 13, 2014, Edward Jones filed a Uniform Termination Notice with FINRA disclosing that Retzke was discharged on October 14, 2014.
According to FINRA, in January, 2015, the agency began investigating whether Retzke had engaged in a private securities transaction and solicited a loan from a client. As part of its investigation, on January 30, 2015, FINRA sent a request to Retzke. According to FINRA, Retzke stated on a call with FINRA staff on February 3, 2015, that he will not cooperate with the investigation. Consequently, Retzke was barred by FINRA.
The allegations against Retzke are consistent with “selling away” securities violation. 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 the brokerage firm claim ignorance of their advisor’s activities, under the FINRA rules, a brokerage firm owes a duty 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 often occurs in brokerage firm that 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.