According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor William Wyman (Wyman), in January 2017, was barred by FINRA over his failure to respond to FINRA inquiries. FINRA’s inquiries came after a customer complained about a private securities transaction. Wyman’s employment with his brokerage firm, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. ended in November 2016 on the heels of the allegations. At this time it is unknown the extent of Wyman’s private securities transactions. His disclosures list ownership of Wyman and Shier Financial Services and do not disclose involvement in other outside businesses.
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”.
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.