The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said Tuesday that it has suspended or barred 10 registered reps and branch managers for numerous securities violations following several of the reps’ moves from the now-defunct HFP Capital Markets LLC to another problem broker-dealer, Global Arena Capital Corp.
FINRA said that a 2014 onsite exam performed by the self-regulatory organization found securities violations including various misleading sales pitches, customer account churning and other business misconduct at Global Arena Capital Corp.
As a result of the Global Arena exam findings, FINRA has barred seven former registered reps from the securities industry, suspended an eighth person whose bar will become effective in October, and barred two former branch managers from serving in a principal capacity.
FINRA tracks groups of brokers that move from one risky firm to another as part of its high-risk broker initiative.
“FINRA carefully monitors broker migration, particularly with respect to brokers that move in groups from an expelled or high-risk firm to other securities firms, based on a variety of risk factors,” said Susan Axelrod, FINRA’s executive vice president of regulatory operations. “FINRA will continue to leverage this data to expedite sales practice examinations and enforcement investigations to rid the industry of individuals who prey on vulnerable investors.”
Seven of the 10 individuals had moved from HFP — a troubled firm that FINRA later expelled — to Global Arena.
In the actions announced Tuesday, FINRA barred the former president of Global Arena Capital Corp., Barbara Desiderio, and five former reps (David Awad, aka “David Bennett,” James Torres, Peter Snetzko, Alex Wildermuth and Michael Tannen) in all capacities; barred two former principals of the firm (Kevin Hagan and Richard Bohack) in a principal capacity for supervisory failures; and sanctioned two former reps (Niaz Elmazi, a.k.a. “Nick Morrisey” and Andrew Marzec) for failing to cooperate with FINRA’s investigation.
According to FINRA BrokerCheck records, the organization suspended former Global Arena advisor Elmazi, aka Morrisey, in May of this year over his failure to respond to its information requests.
In 2014, FINRA denied a client of Elmazi/Morrisey $29,000 in requested relief for “unsuitable recommendations.”
However, Elmazi/Morrisey was required to pay $45,000 and was barred from the securities business in 2013, after the state of Arkansas brought action against him.
While cold calling potential clients about corporate bonds issued by Verso Paper, the advisor called an Arkansas resident employed as a securities examiner by the state on the examiner’s office phone during business hours.