According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Brian Travers (Travers), operating under the d/b/a Travers and Associates, Inc., in December 2017, was barred from the financial industry by FINRA concerning allegations that he engaged in private securities transactions. According to FINRA Travers consented to the sanction and bar due to the fact that he refused to appear and provide FINRA with testimony in connection with their investigation into potential undisclosed outside business activities and private securities transactions. At this time it is unclear the extent and nature of the outside business activities or private securities transactions that occurred.
Travers employer, MML Investors Services, LLC (MML) discharged Travers in March 2017 alleging that Travers engaged in undisclosed outside business activities. The only activity listed on Travers’ public records is his insurance business. FINRA’s allegations concern private securities transactions– a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – is a serious violation of the securities laws.
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.