The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned brokerage firm Carolina Financial Securities, LLC (Carolina Financial) concerning allegations that the firm failed to conduct proper due diligence on private placements sold by the firm.
Carolina Financial has been FINRA member since 1997 and operates out of Brevard, North Carolina. The firm has 12 registered representatives and derives generates revenues through the sale of private placements. The firm has two other prior disciplinary actions including a FINRA action in July 2010, concerning allegations that Carolina Financial failed to ensure that an escrow account was established for a contingent offering.
NASD Rule 3010 requires brokerage firms to establish, maintain, and enforce a supervisory system reasonably designed to comply with the securities laws and the FINRA rules. As part of a brokerage firm’s responsibility includes conducting due diligence on its securities products in order for the firm to understand the risks of these products and to have a reasonable basis to believe these products are suitable for at least some customers. FINRA stated in its complaint that due diligence is especially important for alternative investments such as private placement offerings under Regulation D where there is no registration of the securities with the SEC.