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Former Merrill Lynch broker fined, suspended by FINRA over unauthorized trades

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2022 | Broker Misconduct

A former Merrill Lynch broker accused of unauthorized trading in customer accounts has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, according to AdvisorHub.

Conrad K. Branson was fined $5,000 and suspended for 45 days over his actions that occurred between September 2019 and February 2020. FINRA said that Branson made 14 trades in a client’s account without the client’s prior authorization, knowledge or consent, and also made trades in non-discretionary accounts in the account of that customer and two others without having their prior written authorization.

He was found to have been in violation of Rule 3260, which includes a provision that no member or registered representative shall exercise any discretionary power in a customer’s account without their prior written authorization or the account has been accepted as discretionary. FINRA said he also violated Rule 2010 requiring members to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

According to FINRA’s letter of acceptance, waiver and consent, Branson did not admit or deny the authority’s findings but agreed to the fine and suspension.

Branson, who worked at a Merrill Lynch branch in Mill Valley, California, left the company voluntarily in June and joined another firm in California, Birchwood Wealth Advisors.

Unauthorized trading occurs when there is trading in nondiscretionary accounts without a client’s knowledge, which can result in significant financial damage. At Lewitas Hyman, we represent clients nationwide who are the victims of unauthorized trading, breaches of fiduciary duty and other forms of financial advisor misconduct and securities fraud. If your financial adviser made trades without your consent, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit to recoup your losses. Contact us at (888) 655-6002 or email our team to learn more about how we can help.