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FINRA Suspends Former Dougherty & Co. Broker for Unsuitable Recommendations to the Elderly

Jeffrey A. Hill, a stockbroker formerly registered with Dougherty & Co. LLC, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined $5,000, suspended for 15 months, and ordered to pay $45,000 in disgorgement of the commissions he received.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Jeffrey Alan Hill, of Bemidji, Minnesota, consented to the entry of findings that he recommended unsuitable bond investments and exercised discretion in the accounts of two elderly customers.

Between January 2010 and June 2014, Mr. Hill allegedly initiated hundreds of trades for two elderly customers without their explicit permission.  FINRA found that Mr. Hill contacted the customers only half of the time, and recommended dozens of transactions that were unsuitable, such as short-term trading of corporate and municipal bonds.  According to FINRA, Mr. Hill recommended his elderly customers sell bonds shortly after buying them, or initiated the transactions for them.  Those transactions were unsuitable for any customer, particularly in light of the commissions the customers ended up paying.  Further, the trades were inconsistent with the customers’ financial situations, needs, and objectives.  Mr. Hill was suspended by FINRA for 15 months and assessed a fine of $5,000, and required to pay $45,000 in disgorgement of commissions received.  The suspension is in effect from December 19, 2016 through March 18, 2018.

Stockbrokers have been known to engage in many practices that may be a violation of industry and firm rules, practices, and procedures.  In order to protect investors from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system.  The implementation of the rules require supervisors to monitor employees to ensure they comply with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, and the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures.  If broker-dealers and their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages flowing from the misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses stemming from unsuitable trade recommendations or unauthorized trading can bring forth claims to recover damages against broker-dealers, like Dougherty & Co., which should consistently oversee its brokers’ activities in order to prevent the above-described prohibited conduct.

Have you suffered losses in your Dougherty & Co. account due to your stockbroker’s unsuitable recommendations or unauthorized trades?  If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation.  Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against Dougherty & Co. stockbrokers who may have engaged in unsuitable trading strategies and caused investors’ losses.

The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed!  This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida.  For over 35 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues.  The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally!  Please visit our website, www.secatty.com, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at pearce@rwpearce.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.