FINRA fined and suspended former WBB Securities, Inc. broker William Jeffrey Austin of Redlands, California for exercising discretion in a customer account without proper authorization or consent. The misconduct allegedly occurred over a two-year-plus period, from 2009 through 2011.
According to the findings, a customer opened four accounts with WBB Securities, including an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). In 2009, Austin allegedly began trading the accounts at his own discretion. From 2010 to 2011, Austin placed about 470 discretionary trades in the customer's IRA account.
Investigators found that Austin failed to obtain written authorization from his customer to exercise discretion. Furthermore, at the time of the discretionary trading activity, WBB Securities did not allow discretionary accounts and accordingly did not accept the four accounts as discretionary.
Compounding the issue, in 2011, Austin allegedly completed and submitted to firm WBB a Statement of Compliance in which he falsely claimed that he did not exercise discretionary authority over customer accounts, thereby providing false and misleading statements in violation of FINRA rules.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Austin consented to sanctions and to the entry of findings. The suspension was in effect from February 18, 2014, through March 31, 2014.
If you have invested with William Jeffrey Austin or with any other broker, financial adviser or firm whose non-consensual discretionary trading activity or account classification as one of discretion has proven harmful to your investments or interests, such as losses sustained through a discretionary trade, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.