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Former Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Broker, Douglas Stopkey, Supsended by FINRA For Thirty Days For Allegedly Engaging In Unauthorized Trading in Senior Customers’ Accounts

Douglas Stopkey (CRD # 2209717) is currently registered at Davenport & Company, LLC in Richmond, VA. Douglas Stopkey has been in the securities industry since 1992 was registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith from 1992-2018.

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on October 26, 2020, FINRA sanctioned Douglas Stopkey for allegedly engaging in unauthorized trading in seven accounts owned by elderly customers. FINRA suspended Douglas Stopkey for thirty days.

According to the FINRA sanction: “Without admitting or denying the findings, Stopkey consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he effected approximately 300 trades in seven accounts owned by four senior customers without first speaking with the customers on the days he effected the trade orders. The findings stated that although the customers orally authorized Stopkey to exercise discretion in their accounts, they had not given written authorization for the accounts to be discretionary. Nor did the member firm approve the customer accounts as discretionary. Additionally, on three firm compliance questionnaires, Stopkey inaccurately stated that he had not utilized time or price discretion, or entered trade orders prior to speaking with a client, in a client account. Further, in response to compliance staff’s inquiry into one of the subject trades, Stopkey inaccurately suggested that the trade was the customer’s idea. The findings also stated that Stopkey caused the firm to maintain inaccurate books and records. Stopkey marked order tickets for trades in the customer accounts referenced above as unsolicited although he did not discuss the trades with the customers.”

For a copy of Douglas Stopkey’s FINRA disciplinary action details click here

In addition to the FINRA sanction, on February 7, 2020 Douglas Stopkey was sanctioned by the Virginia State Corporation Commission following allegations he “failed to follow client instructions, exercised discretion in non-discretionary accounts, and marked solicited trades as unsolicited” resulting in a $15,000 fine.

On August 23, 2018 Douglas Stopkey was discharged from Merrill Lynch, Fenner & Smith following allegations of misconduct “involving unauthorized and active trading in client accounts, mismarking client trades as unsolicited and failure to report a client complaint.” This discharge is part and parcel of the aforementioned conduct.

Unauthorized trading is strictly prohibited by FINRA rules. Before a transaction can be entered in a customer account, the Financial Advisor must first obtain verbal or written authorization from the client. In the absence of authorization, the transaction is subject to rescission by the customer.

In addition, Douglas Stopkey has been the subject of one costumer complaint disclosure alleging sales practice misconduct:
• August 31, 2018—”Customer alleges failure to follow instructions on June 21, 2018.”

For a copy of Douglas Stopkey’s CRD, click here

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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