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FINRA Bars Former Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Brokers

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced this week that it is barring three former brokers. They are ex-Morgan Stanley broker (MS) Kevin Smith and former Wells Fargo (WFC) brokers Wilfred Rodriquez Jr. and Thomas A. Davis.

According to the self-regulatory authority’s order, the bar against Smith comes after he wouldn’t appear before FINRA to testify regarding allegations involving a structured products trade in a family member’s trust that he may have executed without checking with the client first.

Morgan Stanley fired Smith in 2016 in the wake of the broker fraud allegations.

Smith is settling with FINRA but without admitting to or denying the SRO’s findings. He has stepped down from Contego Capital Group, where he has been a registered investment adviser since last year.

The ex-Morgan Stanley broker worked with the brokerage firm between 2009 and 2016. Previous to that, he was a UBS Financial Services (UBS) broker.

Former Wells Fargo Brokers Barred After Alleged Misconduct
Also this week, FINRA announced that it is barring ex-Wells Fargo Advisors broker Wilfred Rodriguez, who was fired by the firm in August. The regulator had conducted a probe into allegations that the Florida-based broker “converted” customers’ monies and hid this through the falsification of documents that contained account values that were inflated. The SRO said that during the investigation, Rodriguez failed to come up with certain information and documents.

Wells Fargo noted on Rodriguez’s U-5 termination notice that he was let go because he had transferred funds between a customer’s accounts, with the latter’s permission, and made “authorized bond orders.” The purported purpose of the transactions was to make “qualifying revenue” so that the Florida-based broker could keep his status as an “international financial adviser.”

Rodriguez settled FINRA’s case but is not denying or admitting to the findings.

Rodriguez first worked as a Biltmore Securities broker in 1994. He later went on to work at other financial firms, including UBS PaineWebber, Prudential Securities, Wachovia Securities, Citigroup Investment Services, Great Western Financial Securities Corp., and Euro-Atlantic Securities Inc.

In an unrelated matter, FINRA also barred ex-Wells Fargo Advisors broker Thomas A. Davis who allegedly stole over $2200 after he set up bogus accounts using clients’ names. While Davis was with Wells Fargo Advisors as a broker between 2012 and 2016, he also worked at Wells Fargo Bank as a branch manager and personal banker.

It was the bank that fired him for the alleged theft, which was unrelated to his work with Wells Fargo Advisors. FINRA barred him after the theft and for not testifying before FINRA regarding the allegations.

Broker Fraud
Our broker fraud lawyers work with investors nationwide in helping them to recover their investment fraud losses. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP today if you believe that your investor losses may be a result of negligence, fraud, carelessness, or other wrongdoing.

Investors who have been the victims of broker fraud also may have grounds to file a claim against a negligent financial representative’s financial firm. Your first session with our brokerage firm misconduct attorneys is a free, no obligation, case consultation.

The Finra Order in the Kevin Smith Case (PDF)

The Finra Order in the Wilfred Rodriguez Case (PDF)

After setting up phony accounts, ex-Wells Fargo broker stole money, InvestmentNews, October 10, 2018

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