The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the employment separation filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Patrick Sands (Sands). According to BrokerCheck records Sands has been the subject of at least one customer complaint and one employment termination for cause.
In November 2015, Sands’ then brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) terminated Sands for cause alleging that the broker engaged in conduct inconsistent with the firm’s selling away policies. Participated in private securities transactions without approval of the firm is a practice known as “selling away” in the industry. The allegations appear to involve investments in private placements or direct participation programs such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (Non-Traded REITs), oil and gas programs, or equipment leasing.
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.