According to InvestmentNews, IFS Securities, a broker-dealer based in Atlanta, Georgia, may be facing at least $10M in losses after Keith Wakefield, the firm’s ex-municipal securities principal, allegedly executed unauthorized trades and shorted Treasury bonds. He was fired earlier in August 2019.
IFS Securities is owned by IFS Group Inc. The brokerage firm reportedly notified the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about the significant losses it sustained due to the unauthorized securities transactions that reportedly did not involve any customer assets. IFS Group works with institutional investors.
Wakefield was with IFS Securities since 2011. His BrokerCheck record cites allegedly making fake trades and fraud as the reasons for his termination. With 19 years as a registered broker, Wakefield was previously with Cabrera Capital Markets, LaSalle Financial Services, and ABM Amro Inc.
Also at issue is whether IFS Securities properly supervised Wakefield.
It was just last month that the IFS Securities settled an administrative proceeding with the SEC in an unrelated case. The firm underwrote about $6M of bond offerings issued by the Harvey Public Library District in Illinois. The regulator contends that IFS failed to act with reasonable care when underwriting the bonds, instead selling them to another brokerage firm after finding it hard to bring in investors for the bonds.
IFS Securities is accused of selling the bonds at a price that was unreasonable and unfair to the public library district. While not denying or admitting to the SEC charges, IFS consented to a censure and to paying a $50K penalty.
The firm’s BrokerCheck record shows three other disclosures, including one in 2018 for employing an unregistered agent, another in 2015 for a different for bond sale at allegedly unfair prices, and a disclosure in 2005 for a breach of fiduciary/inadequate supervision claim that was settled for $25K.
Brokerage Firm Negligence
If you are an institutional investor who worked with Keith Wakefield or another IFS Securities trader and you suffered investment losses that you suspect may be due to broker negligence or fraud, please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP today (SSEK Law Firm).