One of a broker professional obligations is to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's queries relative to his or her status in the securities industry. This could include requests for information about customer accounts, recommending certain securities, outside business activities, customer complaints, criminal matters, tax liens/disclosures, and/or bankruptcies to name a few.
When a brokers refuses to respond to a FINRA query, that broker places customers and firms in jeopardy. For instance, customers may be prevented from discovering a conflict of interest posed by an outside business activity or learning of a representative's inclination for financial malfeasance due to personal woes, such as liens, compromises, or debts. The sanction for not responding is severe, a lifetime ban from the securities industry.
FINRA recently barred California brokers Alan Nga-Lun Lau of Elk Grove (CRD #4704018) and Marc Winters of Chatsworth (CRD #4053113).
Lau's bar follows an "employment separation after allegations" disclosure filed by employing firm Wells Fargo Clearing Services in Sacramento based on allegations Lau failed to place trades and solicited a customer for cannabis industry contracts.
For former Wedbush Securities (Los Angeles) broker Marc Winters, FINRA's bar follows a December 31, 2019 termination from Wedbush for exercising discretion without proper documents on file and for failing to cooperate with an internal review.
Prior to this, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist order and $35,000 in penalties, fees, and fines for alleged insider trading by Winters in the securities of GSI Commerce prior to eBay's acquisition of GSI.
If you have invested with CA brokers Alan Nga-Lun Lau or Marc Winters or with any financial advisor representative whose activities have proven harmful to your investments or interests through a costly undisclosed conflict of interest or otherwise, please call an experienced FINRA arbitration attorney at The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.