FINRA suspended former Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. broker Richard Joseph "Rick" Gobel and fined him $7,500 for failing to obtain written authorization from both customers and Wall Street Financial to place discretionary trades in customer accounts.
According to the findings, Gobel effected discretionary trades in 10 customer accounts from 2009 through 2011 without gaining the necessary prior written authorization from the customers who owned those 10 accounts to do so. Additionally, Wall Street Financial did not certify or accept the accounts as discretionary, which according to FINRA/NASD rules, should have prevented Gobel from exercising discretionary power in the accounts.
Instead, Gobel allegedly falsely informed Wall Street Financial that he was not employing discretion in the 10 accounts while he nonetheless effected the discretionary trades.
Discretionary trading, wherein a broker is given the authority to initiate transactions without direct customer involvement or oversight, is often a source of broker misconduct.
For instance, from 2007 through 2008, then-Forsyth Securities, Inc. broker Russell Philip Macke allegedly engaged in excessive trading causing his customers to pay $50,117.18 in added margin interest, commissions and other fees. Meanwhile, the customer's account lost over $50,000 in value.
Former NFP Securities, Inc. associate Kenneth Raden Miller's alleged abuse of excessive discretionary trading from 2007-2008 resulted in a 2010 SEC complaint alleging Miller effected 227 discretionary transactions in the account of a customer without prior written authorization from either the customer or NFP Securities.
For more information about discretionary authority and broker abuse of the power, see "Once Granted, Permission to Trade with Discretion can be Problematic."
If you have invested with Richard Joseph Gobel, Wall Street Financial Group or with any broker or firm that has engaged in trading activity without your permission, prior written authorization or consent and such misconduct has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.