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Former Alexander Capital, L.P. Financial Advisor, William Thurmond, Suspended By FINRA For Engaging In Unauthorized Discretionary Trading In A Customer Account

William Thurmond is a former Financial Advisor at Alexander Capital, LP in New York, NY.  Alan Appelbaum has been in the securities industry since 1996 and previously worked at EDI Financial, Inc. in El Paso, Texas. 

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on April 12, 2019, William Thurmond was sanctioned by FINRA, suspending him for fifteen months, fining him $25,000 and ordering disgorgement of $42,724.  According to the FINRA sanction:

“Without admitting or denying the findings, Thurmond consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he recommended unsuitable leveraged and inverse-leveraged exchange traded fund (ETF) transactions to a customer. The findings stated that Thurmond placed forty-five trades of leveraged and inverse leveraged ETFs trades in the customer’s account for a total of approximately $328,000. Thurmond placed the first eighteen of these trades without obtaining prior authorization, knowledge or consent from the customer or his power of attorney. Thurmond did not have discretionary trading authority in the customer’s account during this time. Moreover, the customer’s account held many of the leveraged and inverse-leveraged ETFs much longer than the short holding periods discussed in the prospectuses. In fact, the customer’s account held the ETFs for as long as 600 days, with an average holding period of over 150 days. These investments were not suitable given the customer’s risk tolerance, financial experience, and liquidity. As a result of Thurmond’s unsuitable recommendations, the customer suffered losses of $212,731, while generating $42,724 in commissions to Thurmond. The customer recovered his losses through an arbitration proceeding against Thurmond’s member firm. The findings also stated that Thurmond caused his firm to maintain inaccurate books and records by maintaining authorization forms that the customer had signed but were otherwise blank. Thurmond had engaged the customer and his power of attorney in discussions about executing paperwork granting trading authority in the account to the power of attorney and executing paperwork granting discretionary trading authority to Thurmond. During this process, Thurmond received, maintained, and utilized multiple versions of a trade authorization form in his client files for the customer. The customer signed two versions of the form, but neither form designated to whom he granted trading authority.”

William Thurmond has been the subject of four (4) customer complaints during his career, alleging various sales practice misconduct.  In 2014, one of the complaints went to a final arbitration hearing and, based on the conduct of William Thurmond, his employer was required to pay compensatory damages of $212,731, attorneys’ fees of $48,000 and costs of $12,500.  For a copy of the arbitration award, click https://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/aao_documents/14-01822-Award-All%20Public%20Panel-20160120.pdf

It is required by FINRA rules and other governing regulations that Financial Advisors obtain authorization for all trades placed in non-discretionary accounts prior to executing those trades.  If a trade is unauthorized, the customer may be entitled to rescission of the trade, plus any damages caused or commissions charged. 

Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients.  To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.  

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis.  Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities.  Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters.  We can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

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