According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Peter Butler (Butler), in January 2017, was terminated by his firm Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) over claims by the firm that Butler “resigned while on suspension pending termination for violation of company policy related to selling away and disclosure of an outside activity.” In addition to the termination Butler has been subject to one regulatory action and four customer complaints.
The regulatory action by FINRA found that Butler failed to reasonably supervise a broker who was employed as a sales associate and office manager. FINRA found that Butler failed to detect and prevent the office manager from converting money from a business organization belonging to Butler. FINRA determined that the office manager used this control to convert funds from the business in order to pay himself an additional salary and unauthorized commissions, as well as to otherwise take money to which he was not entitled. In addition, funds were converted from firm customers who were also his family members and domestic partner by depositing those funds into the business’ bank account, from which he continued to make unauthorized withdrawals.
At this time it is unknown the extent and nature of the private securities transactions that formed the basis of the employment separation. FINRA requires brokers to disclose their outside businesses because the risk to investors is that the broker will use such businesses to engage in unauthorized securities activities. 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”.