Articles Posted in Regulatory Sanction

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Fifth Third Securities

Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 10, 2018 indicate that Ohio-based brokerage and advisory firm Fifth Third Securities was recently sanctioned by FINRA in connection to alleged rule violations. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Fifth Third Securities (CRD# 628).

Founded in Ohio in 1925, Fifth Third Securities is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and registered wth 52 US states and territories. According to the firm’s BrokerCheck report, it has received 36 regulatory sanctions and 19 customer complaints that evolved into arbitration.

In May 2018 FINRA sanctioned Fifth Third Securities in connection to allegations it failed to “appropriately consider and accurately describe the costs and benefits of variable annuity (VA) exchanges,” as well as for recommending variable annuity exchanges in the absence of a reasonable basis to believe such transactions were suitable for the customers in question. Fifth Third Securities failed to ensure that its representatives obtained and evaluated “accurate information” regarding the exchanges that it recommended to its customers, according to FINRA. The firm also allegedly did not adequately train its representatives and principals in proper methods for conducting a “comparative analysis of the material features” of variable annuity products. As a result, according to FINRA, Fifth Third Securities ultimately made inaccurate statements regarding the transactions’ costs and benefits, presenting them as better for the customer than they actually were.

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Cambridge Investment ResearchPublic records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 10, 2018 indicate that Iowa-based brokerage firm Cambridge Investment Research was recently sanctioned by FINRA in connection to alleged rule violations. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Cambridge Investment Research (CRD# 39543).

Founded in 1995, Cambridge Investment Research is headquartered in Fairfield, Iowa and registered with 52 US states and territories. According to the firm’s BrokerCheck report, it has received nine regulatory sanctions and two customer complaints that evolved into arbitration.

In May 2018 FINRA sanctioned the firm following allegations it failed to establish, maintain and enforce an adequately designed supervisory system in connection to redemptions of variable annuity and non-traditional exchange-traded fund products. FINRA found that in about 100 instances, firm clients redeemed variable annuity products and transferred the funds to an advisory account, and that firm personnel were involved in and additionally recommended some of these transactions despite the lack of systematic supervision or written procedures governing them. FINRA found as well that the firm did not determine which transactions were recommended by the personnel and were consequently subject to FINRA suitability rules. According to FINRA, 84 firm representatives participated in the trading of non-traditional ETF products in retail customer accounts, executing 4,773 transactions for a total of about $127 million, though the firm failed to enforce its written supervisory procedures regarding non-traditional ETF trades. For instance, per FINRA, the firm permitted representatives to execute the trades before the signed a form attesting they completed a 45 minute training session, as required by the WSPs; additionally, the firm allegedly permitted “many customers” to buy non-traditional ETFs before they had submitted a disclosure form that was required by firm rules.

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Ronald SmithPublic records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on May 9, 2018 indicate that New Jersey-based PTS Brokerage broker/adviser Ronald Smith has received a regulatory sanction, a pending customer dispute and several unsatisfied tax liens. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Smith (CRD# 2483733).

Ronald Smith has spent 23 years in the securities industry and has been registered with PTS Brokerage in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey since 2004. Previous registrations include USAllianz Securities in Minneapolis, Minnesota (2000-2004); Locust Street Securities in Des Moines, Iowa (2000); Nationwide Advisory Services in Grandview Heights, Ohio (2000); Locust Street Securities in Des Moines, Iowa (1999-2000); Signator Investors in Boston, Massachusetts (1994-1999); and John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company in Boston, Massachusetts (1994-1997). He has passed four securities industry examinations: Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination), which he obtained on June 22, 2004; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on May 18, 1994; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on March 10, 1999; and Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination), which he obtained on May 18, 1994. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with seven US states: Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

According to his BrokerCheck report, Ronald Smith has received one FINRA sanction, one pending customer complaint, and two unsatisfied tax liens.

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Charles Bloom

Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on April 23, 2018 indicate that Florida-based Chelsea Financial Services broker Charles Bloom has received resolved or pending customer disputes. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Bloom (CRD# 4144108).

Charles Bloom has spent 17 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Chelsea Financial Services in Royal Palm Beach, Florida since 2016. Previous registrations include International Assets Advisory in West Palm Beach, Florida (2015); IAA Financial in West Palm Beach, Florida (2014-2015); US Brokerage in Wellington, Florida (2007-2014); 1st Discount Brokerage in Delray Beach, Florida (2002-2006); 1st Discount Brokerage in Lake Worth, Florida (2002); and Acument Securities in San Francisco, California (2000-2002). He has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on August 7, 2000; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on March 16, 2000; and Series 24 (General Securities Principal Examination), which he obtained on December 2, 2003. He is a registered broker with two US states: Florida and Nevada.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received two regulatory sanctions, one customer complaint and one pending customer complaint, and he resigned from a former employer in connection to alleged rule violations.

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Cecil Byers

Public records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 23, 2018 indicate that Texas-based Sunbelt Securities broker/adviser Cecil Byers has been sanctioned by FINRA and suspended from acting as a broker. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Byers (CRD# 809253).

Cecil Byers has spent 42 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Sunbelt Securities in Beaumont, Texas since 2015. Previous registrations include Wells Fargo Advisors in Beaumont, Texas (2010-2015); Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Beaumont, Texas (2009-2011); Citigroup Global Markets in Beaumont, Texas (1996-2009); Merrill Lynch in New York, New York (1978-1996); and Merrill Lynch (1975-1978). He has passed six securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which he obtained on November 29, 1994; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on July 18, 1988; Series 15 (Foreign Currency Options Examination), which he obtained on May 22, 1984; Series 5 (Interest Rate Options Examination), which he obtained on December 12, 1981; PC (AMEX Put and Call Exam), which he obtained on May 2, 1977; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on June 21, 1975. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with two US states: Louisiana and Texas.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received two customer complaints and one regulatory sanction, and he resigned from a former employer in connection to alleged rule violations.

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Brittney SiasPublic records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 20, 2018 indicate that former California-based Western International Securities broker Brittney Sias, also known as Rosalie Sias, has been sanctioned by FINRA in connection to alleged rule violations and barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Ms. Sias (CRD# 4274432).

Brittney Sias has spent 14 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Western International Securities in Westlake Village, California (2013-2017). Previous registrations include US Bancorp Investments in Culver City, California (2010-2011; 2012-2013); Primevest Financial Services in Los Angeles, California (2008-2010); Cuso Financial Services in Los Angeles, California (2008); Essex National Securities in West Hollywood, California (2007-2008); Cuna Brokerage Services in Los Angeles, California (2006-2007); Bancwest Investment Services in Culver City, California (2006); Financial West Group in Reno, Nevada (2003-2005); and Uboc Investment Services in Glendale, California (2001-2003). She has passed two securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which she obtained on October 9, 2002, and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which she obtained on October 3, 2001. She is currently not registered with any state or firm.

According to her BrokerCheck report, she has received one FINRA sanction and one pending customer complaint, and she was recently discharged from a former employer in connection to alleged rule violations.

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James Clark

Publicly available records published by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 18, 2018 indicate that Texas-based Worth Financial Group broker/adviser James Clark has received customer disputes and regulatory sanctions. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Clark (CRD# 1225726).

James Clark has spent 34 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Worth Financial Group in Dallas and San Antonio, Texas since 2001. Previous registrations include Oxford Financial Group in Houston, Texas (1999-2003); Rushmore Securities Corporation in Dallas, Texas (1991-1999); Accredited Investors in Dallas, Texas (1986-1999); Anspacher Securities (1985-1986); PBS Securities (1984-1985); and Texas Securities (1984). He has passed five securities industry examinations: Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on February 28, 1992; Series 3 (National Commodity Futures Examination), which he obtained on April 19, 1984; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on January 21, 1984; Series 28 (Introducing Broker/Dealer Financial Operations Principal Examination), which he obtained on June 5, 1991; and Series 24 (General Securities Principal Examination), which he obtained on August 15, 1984. He is a registered broker and investment adviser with seven US states: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received three customer complaints and four regulatory sanctions.

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Joseph LudovicoPublic records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 17, 2018 indicate that former New York-based Cantor Fitzgerald broker Joseph Ludovico recently resigned from his former employer in connection to alleged rule violations and was recently named in a state regulatory investigation. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Ludovico (CRD# 3137825).

Joseph Ludovico has spent 18 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Cantor Fitzgerald in New York, New York (2000-2018). He has passed four securities industry examinations: Series 55 (Limited Representative-Equity Trader Exam), which he obtained on July 24, 2002; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on March 13, 2000; and Series 24 (General Securities Principal Examination), which he obtained on May 12, 2016. He is currently not registered with any state or firm.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he has received one regulatory sanction, was permitted to resign from his former employer, and was recently named in a regulatory investigation.

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Joan NortonPublicly available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 18, 2018 indicate that Florida-based International Assets Advisory broker/adviser Joan Norton has received resolved or pending customer disputes and a regulatory sanction. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Ms. Norton (CRD# 1777913).

Joan Norton has spent 30 years in the securities industry and has been registered with International Assets Advisory in Orlando, Florida since 2016. Previous registrations include Ausdal Financial Partners in Woburn, Massachusetts (2009-2016); Waterstone Financial Group in Woburn, Massachusetts (2003-2009); FSC Securities Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia (2001-2003); and Waddell & Reed in Overland Park, Kansas (1987-2001). She has passed five securities industry examinations: Series 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination), which she obtained on March 11, 1997; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which she obtained on December 15, 1987; Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which she obtained on June 3, 1997; Series 22 (Direct Participation Programs Representative Examination), which she obtained on August 2, 1988; and Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Representative Examination), which she obtained on December 10, 1987. She is a registered broker and investment adviser with ten US states: Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

According to her BrokerCheck report, she has received one customer complaint, one pending regulatory complaint and one regulatory sanction.

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William LancasterPublic records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and accessed on April 17, 2018 indicate that former Oklahoma-based Arvest Wealth Management broker/adviser William Lancaster, also known as David Lancaster, recently resigned from his former employer in connection to alleged rule violations and was recently named in a pending state regulatory investigation. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in speaking to investors who have complaints regarding Mr. Lancaster (CRD# 3188168).

William Lancaster has spent 18 years in the securities industry and was most recently registered with Arvest Wealth Management in Wagoner, Oklahoma (2018). He was previously registered with Edward Jones in Wagoner, Oklahoma (1999-2018). He has passed three securities industry examinations: Series 66 (Uniform Combined State Law Examination), which he obtained on January 12, 2007; Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), which he obtained on April 22, 1999; and Series 7 (General Securities Representative Examination), which he obtained on April 20, 1999. He is currently not registered with any state or firm.

According to his BrokerCheck report, he recently resigned from his former employer and was named in a state regulatory investigation.