Articles Tagged with Waddell & Reed

shutterstock_94127350-300x205The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating Waddell & Reed Inc.’s (Waddell & Reed) termination of former broker Paul Stanley (Stanley) working out of the Edmond, Oklahoma office.  Stanley had been in the industry for 16 years and was a licensed supervisor with the firm.  Waddell & Reed terminated Stanley in January 2016.  According to the broker’s Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck filing the firm stated that Stanley was “terminated for violation of firm’s Professional Conduct, Supervisory and Compensation Policies following firm investigation evidencing that Principal failed to provide complete information during firm’s internal investigation, suggested to [registered representative] under Principal’s supervision they also not provide complete information during firm’s internal investigation, allowed [registered representative] who was not properly licensed to participate in solicitation of investment advisory business, directed [registered representative] to conduct firm business during an internal firm-imposed administrative suspension, directly compensated [registered representative] outside of firm compensation policies, failed to intercede in the sharing of investment advisory compensation between [registered representative] outside of firm compensation policies and where [registered representative] were not all properly licensed for the products at issue, emailed firm business to [registered representative] on [registered representative] outside email account, and improperly managed client paperwork.”

Subsequently, in March 2017 FINRA barred Stanley when Stanley consented to the sanction and bar for refusing to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA.

Stanley entered the securities industry in 1998.  From October 2012 until October 2013, Stanley was associated with J.P. Morgan Securities LLC.  From October 2013 until January 2016 Stanley was associated with Waddell & Reed out of the firm’s Edmond, Oklahoma office location.

shutterstock_69882820-300x228Our firm is investigating claims made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against brokers Neal Moon (Moon) and Natalie Fogiel Moon (Fogiel).  According to the FINRA complaint, from February 2012 to August 2015, Moon participated in nine private securities transactions and Fogiel, his wife, participated in six private securities transactions in which six customers invested a total of $2.64 million in three different entities.  FINRA claimed that Moon and Fogiel failed to provide Waddell and Reed (Waddell), their brokerage firm, with prior written notice of their participation in the private securities transactions.

Among the businesses that Moon and Fogiel are accused of soliciting clients to invest in include BOXX Technologies, NMN BOXX, Total Operating LLC, TO Investments, Hoffbrau Steaks, and CCBRAU, Ltd

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”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

shutterstock_43547368The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action filed (Disciplinary Action No. 2014043025701) by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Carlos Benavidez Jr (Benavidez). According to the allegations, between January 2013 and January 2015, Benavidez exercised discretion in 80 customer accounts without obtaining prior written authorization from the customers while with brokerage firm Waddell & Reed.

FINRA found that beginning in or about December 2009, Benavidez and two other representatives registered with Waddell & Reed, formed RBR Group and shared a customer base for their securities business. Between January 2013 and January 2015, FINRA found that Benavidez exercised discretion in effecting hundreds of securities transactions in approximately 80 customer accounts without obtaining written authorization from his customers or Waddell & Reed’s approval.

Also according to FINRA, Benavidez tried to hide the evidence of unauthorized trading by falsifying documents. FINRA found that on or about September 9, 2014, Benavidez and another individual with the firm backdated approximately 26 customer notes that had been created in the firm’s computer program in order to falsely reflect that Benavidez or another member of the RBR Group had conversed with those customers on before the trades were effected when, in fact, it was not until six days later when Benavidez or another individual talked with the 26 customers about the trades that had been effected in their accounts.

shutterstock_189302963On August 21, 2014, Richard A. March, Senior Regional Counsel of FINRA’s Department of Enforcement filed a complaint against Jeffrey Meyer, a financial advisor in Lake in the Hills Illinois who was formerly associated with Waddell & Reed, Inc. The complaint alleges that while employed at Waddell & Reed and WRP Investments, Inc. Mr. Meyer acted outside the scope of his employment with those firms by participating in 37 private securities transactions totaling more than $1.5 million, without providing prior written notice to the firms of his proposed roles in the transactions. FINRA alleges that as a result of the foregoing, Mr. Meyer violated FINRA Rule 2010. FINRA Rule 2010 states that “A member, in the conduct of its business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

Mr. Meyer entered the securities industry in January 2000 as an investment company products and variable contracts representative with Franklin Financial Services, Corp. In February 2001 he became a general securities representative with Focused Investments, LCC.  According to FINRA, United Private Capital, Inc. was a corporate entity that was established as an investment vehicle for FOREX currency trading. Between November 2008 and September 2009, United Capital sold corporate guarantees totaling $1 million to 20 investors and Mr. Meyer participated in each of the private securities transactions. Mr. Meyer, in some instances collected checks from customers and assisted them in preparing documents to effectuate the transactions. Furthermore, on at least one occasion, Mr. Meyer presented sales material to an individual who subsequently invested at United Private Capital.

In addition, according to FINRA, Mr. Meyer participated in private securities transactions related to commercial loans through Strategic Lending Solutions, LLC as well. Those promissory notes totaled approximately $300,000 with 13 investors. Mr. Meyer received a 2% payment based on the amount of the promissory note.

FINRA has fined Maryland financial adviser and investment counselor Jill Meredith Carr $10,000 and suspended her for two years from the securities industry. According to the letter of acceptance, waiver and consent (“AWC”) submitted by Ms. Carr, she entered the securities industry in 2007 with Merrill Lynch until her termination for “failure to meet performance standards” in 2008. She then worked for Waddell & Reed, Inc until her termination in July 2012 when she was terminated for forging customer signatures. Brokers and investment advisers the forge customer signatures constitute a form of securities fraud.

According to the AWC, from December 2011 through June 2012, Carr forged signatures of at least 15 Waddell & Reed customers on at least 24 forms. Carr also altered information on other account forms after the forms were signed by the customers. Specifically, in connection with firm-required suitability updates, Carr forged the signatures of at least six customers on at least 12 update forms without their knowledge, consent, or authorization. In addition, she forged at least five additional signatures, allegedly as an accommodation to those customers. By forging the signatures, FINRA found that Carr violated FINRA Rule 2010. Finra Rule 2010 states that “A member, in the conduct of its business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

Pursuant to FINRA Rules, brokerage firms rely on customers’ stated objectives and profiles to determine whether the investment objectives and the broker recommendations are consistent. It is important that investors and their brokers fully understand these objectives. It is imperative that these objectives be properly stated. Here, FINRA’s fine and suspension reflects the importance of these documents.