John Burns, a stockbroker formerly registered with UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) and Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was assessed a deferred fine of $17,500 and suspended for 14 months. Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, John E. Burns, of St. Charles, Missouri, consented to the entry of findings that he engaged in a pattern of unauthorized trading in customer accounts and made unsuitable, risky investments in the account of an elderly couple.
Between December 2013 and August 2015, while registered with UBS and Ameriprise, John Burns allegedly executed 100 unauthorized trades in nine customer accounts. Mr. Burns did not have written discretionary authority to place the trades in any of these customer accounts. FINRA found further that Mr. Burns made over 50 unsuitable and unauthorized investments in the account of a senior retired couple. According to FINRA, these transactions involved repeated high-risk investments in stocks which were unsuitable for the customers given their moderate risk tolerance and investment profile. As a result of Mr. Burns’ unsuitable investment strategy, the elderly couple sustained losses exceeding $50,000. Consequently, John Burns was suspended by FINRA for 14 months and assessed a deferred fine of $17,500. The suspension is in effect from December 5, 2016 through February 4, 2018. Continue Reading