The Wolper Law Firm is currently investigating claims against John James, a former Financial Advisor at Merrill Lynch in Golden Valley, Minnesota. John James first entered the securities industry in 2003 and previously worked for Piper Jaffray.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on December 27, 2017, John James was sanctioned by FINRA for failing to appear and provide testimony pursuant to a FINRA subpoena. FINRA was investigating allegations that while employed at Merrill Lynch John James participated in unauthorized private securities transactions, also referred to as “selling away.”
FINRA strictly prohibits financial advisors from “selling away” or selling securities and investments to clients that are not offered by the brokerage firm with which they are employed. For example, it is illegal and a violation of industry rules for a financial advisor to recommend or even suggest that a client invest in the financial advisor’s own business or a business operated by his or her friends or family. It is not necessary that the financial advisor earn any compensation for recommending an outside investment.
The purpose behind this prohibition is to ensure that a financial advisor only offers to sell securities that have been vetted by his or her employer brokerage firm through a rigorous due diligence process. Most brokerage firms have an approved list of investments, products, and research that can be provided or made available to clients. Any deviation by the financial advisor from the approved product list may constitute selling away.
In 2016, John James resigned from Merrill Lynch amidst its investigation of John James for selling away. After leaving Merrill Lynch, John James became employed by Stifel Nicolaus, but was discharged within less than one year because it was alleged he “provided inaccurate information on his employment application.”
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.
If you or someone you know was a customer of John James and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm at 800.931.8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific situation and the legal options available. The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration.
Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyers 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. Simply put, he knows how the other side evaluates cases, which gives you a competitive advantage.