FINRA Fines and Suspends Former Raymond James Broker for Discretionary Trade Violations

William McWilliams, a registered representative formerly employed with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) in which he consented to, but did not admit to or deny, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) findings that he exercised discretion at least 28 times in eight customer accounts without the necessary prior written authorization.

FINRA found that William Harrison McWilliams, of Columbia, Missouri, failed to obtain the necessary written authorization from his customers or his member firm when he exercised discretion in the accounts of eight customers.  According to FINRA, Mr. McWilliams exercised discretionary trading authority in response to customer liquidation requests six times in four customers’ accounts without the requisite prior written authorization from customers and without the accounts accepted as discretionary by his member firm.  Further, FINRA found that Mr. McWilliams exercised discretionary trading authority at least 22 times in four other customer accounts without discussing the trades with the customers on the day of the trades, which was required by the firm.

For the discretionary violations described above, FINRA found Mr. McWilliams to have violated NASD Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rule 2010.   Consequently, he was assessed a fine of $7,500 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 10 business days.   The suspension was in effect from June 5, 2017 through June 23, 2017.

Stockbrokers, registered representatives, and other financial industry professionals have been known to engage in many types of misconduct which are in violation of industry rules and procedures.  In order to protect customers from misconduct, FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a supervisory system.  The implementation of the rules requires that supervisors monitor firm employees to ensure compliance with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, as well as 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 held liable to account holders for losses resulting from the misconduct.  As a result, account holders who have suffered losses stemming from unauthorized transactions by their broker or registered representative can file a cliam to recover damages against broker-dealers, like Raymond James, which have a duty to supervise its employees in order to prevent stockbroker misconduct.

Have you suffered losses in your Raymond James investment account due to your stockbroker’s unauthorized trades or other stockbroker misconduct?  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 Raymond James stockbrokers for unauthorized and prohibited misconduct.

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 40 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 post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, send Mr. Pearce an email at, and/or visit our website at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.