Richard Lee, former registered representative with Caldwell International Securities Corp., submitted an Offer of Settlement to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was suspended for 18 months and required to requalify by exam before reentering the securities industry in any capacity. Richard Lee, of West Nyack New York, was found by FINRA to have recommended an unsuitable active trading strategy to his customers without understanding the risks involved, whether or not the strategy was suitable for his clients, or the impact the staggering commissions and fees generated by his recommended strategy would have on his customers’ accounts.
According to FINRA, Richard Lee generated new customers by cold calling them and generally targeted customers who would agree to speculation as their investment objective. FINRA noted that Mr. Lee allegedly believed that once a customer selected “speculation,” that any investment strategy or trade was suitable. Moreover, FINRA states that the funds in customers’ accounts were considered “gambling money” that the customer could afford to lose. FINRA found that when customers did complain, Mr. Lee allegedly failed to report the complaints, but rather tried to hide his behavior by reducing sales charges. For instance, FINRA stated that when one of Mr. Lee’s customers sent him an email telling him to stop trading and “I am very disappointed in you. You have abused my trust,” Mr. Lee agreed to stop charging the customer commissions until the account was even. Continue reading →