The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has barred three former brokers who failed to take part in the self-regulatory authority’s probe into allegations of wrongdoing. Stephen T. Hurtak, formerly of Stifel Nicolaus & Co., was a broker for 39 years. According to FINRA, Hurtak refused to take part in the investigation into possibly unsuitable recommendations he may have made to several customers.
Brokers have a duty to make investment recommendations and strategies that are appropriate for a customer as it pertains to their investment goals, risk tolerance, and portfolios. When unsuitable recommendations lead to investment losses, this can be grounds for an investor fraud case.
Hurtak’s BrokerCheck record indicates that he has been named in eight disclosure events, seven that took place while he was at Stifel. He left the firm last year. Hurtak previously was a Citigroup (C) broker, and for over two decades before that he was a Merrill Lynch (BAC) broker.
The second bar was imposed against Benjamin & Jerold broker Juergen Weber, who was part of the securities industry for 23 years. Weber was let go by the firm a few months ago over allegations that he made unauthorized trades and provided unsuitable recommendations. He, too, refused to take part in FINRA’s probe, hence the industry bar.
Previous to working with Benjamin & Jerold, Weber worked at a number of broker-dealers, including Prudential Securities, where he got his start, AG Edwards Wachovia Securities, which fired him after he allegedly made unauthorized trades, and Avalon Partners. While working as an Avalon broker, FINRA suspended him over, once again, unauthorized trading allegations.
Unauthorized trades are typically trades made by a broker on behalf of a customer without the latter’s consent or permission. FINRA prohibits brokers from making unauthorized trades barring certain exceptions.
FINRA also recently barred a ex-JP Morgan Securities (JPM) broker Benjamin S. Johnson, who was let go by the broker-dealer and its affiliate Chase Bank in January 2017. The SRO contends that Johnson did not report a number of financial events, including judgments and liens.
Johnson has worked in the financial industry in 2009 and he was with Chase and JP Morgan the entire time.
While he at first asked for time to respond to FINRA’s requests for documents a few months ago, in August he notified the SRO that he would not be to cooperating with its probe. Hence, the industry bar by FINRA.
Johnson submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent to settle FINRA’s findings and the industry bar but without denying or admitting to them.
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLLP, our broker misconduct lawyers have successfully pursued FINRA securities arbitration claims against brokers and their broker-dealers on behalf of investors that have sustained significant losses due to negligence, fraud, or other misconduct, including margin account abuse, churning, overconcentration, unsuitability, unauthorized recommendations, failure to execute trades, breach of duty, failure to supervise, misrepresentations and omissions, and other grounds. Contact our investor claims law firm today.
Finra bars two brokers, including one with nearly 40 years in the industry, InvestmentNews, September 5, 2018
Stephen Hurtak, BrokerCheck
Juergen Weber, BrokerCheck
Benjamin Johnson, BrokerCheck
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