The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned supervisor Gregory Bray (Bray) concerning allegations that Bray failed to adequately supervise the firm’s chief executive officer and compliance officer Matt Maberry (Maberry), who FINRA refers to by the initials “MM”, concerning sales of certain complex products and recommendations of Class A mutual fund shares. In September 1996, Bray became registered with Alton Securities Group, Inc. (Alton Securities) where the alleged misconduct took place.
FINRA alleged that Bray was responsible for supervising the sales activity of Maberry. Maberry was responsible for all other supervisory functions at the Alton Securities. FINRA found that Bray’s supervision of Maberry’s sales activity consisted of a daily review of a trade blotter reflecting trades made by Maberry to customers together with conversations with Maberry regarding trading activity.
FINRA found that Maberry recommended and sold certain complex products to his customers. For example, FINRA found that Maberry recommended and sold leveraged or inverse exchange traded funds and leveraged/inverse mutual funds. In addition, Maberry is alleged to have recommended and sold a steepener note designed to increase in value as the gap between short and long term interest rates increased. FINRA found that Maberry’s sales were unsuitable because he lacked a reasonable basis to recommend these products to his customers because he did not fully understand the potential risks associated with these securities.