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Did Former Transamerica Broker, Michael Mackay, Now Barred By FINRA, Sell You Shares Of REPF Fund I?

The Wolper Law Firm is representing a former client of Michael Mackay, who was sold a variety of unsuitable investment products, including an unapproved private security issued by the REPF Fund I, a company started by Michael Mackay himself.

Michael Richard Mackay is a former Financial Advisor at Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. in Cincinnati, OH from 2012 to 2019.  Michael Mackay has been in the securities industry since 1992 and previously worked at World Group Securities in Duluth, GA, World Equity Group in Cincinnati, OH, WMA Securities in Duluth, GA and John Hancock in Boston, MA. 

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Michael Mackay was “permitted to resign” from Transamerica Financial in January 2019 after the firm “received allegations from two customers that the Representative had referred them to an outside investment opportunity that was not approved by the firm.”   Upon information and belief, this private investment opportunity was the REPF Fund I, a real estate oriented private placement that provided “hard money” loans to third-parties in exchange for a high rate of interest.  Michael Mackay promised investors of the REPF Fund I an increasing rate of return depending on how much money they agreed to invest in his fund. 

In July 2019, FINRA sanctioned Michael Mackay, barring him from the securities industry, after he refused to cooperate in its investigation into the REPF Fund I.  According to the FINRA sanction, “Without admitting or denying the findings, Mackay consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to respond to a FINRA request for documents and information as a part of an investigation into allegations that he had referred customers to an outside real estate investment opportunity that his member firm had not approved.” 

In addition, two customers have filed complaints against Michael Mackay alleging that he sold them securities that were not “approved” by Transamerica.  The aggregate damages sought by these two customers is $920,000 and both matters remain pending. 

For a copy of the FINRA sanction, click https://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/fda_documents/2019061378901%20Michael%20Richard%20Mackay%20CRD%202279775%20AWC%20jm%20%282019-1565223616158%29.pdf

For a copy of the Michael Mackay’s CRD, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/2279775#disclosuresSection

Unapproved private securities transactions are referred to in the industry 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.

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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