An advisor fired by Stifel Financial (SF) nearly two years ago must pay some $440,000 to his former broker-dealer, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel has ruled, for breaking the terms of his promissory note.
Christian Harkness, who worked for Stifel in La Crosse, Wisconsin, from September 2009 to December 2014, was let go due to “undisclosed business activities,” according to FINRA records. “During the [internal] review, the firm also learned the financial advisor failed to disclose a judgement and a loan with a client.”
As part of its disciplinary actions, which were finalized in November 2015, the regulatory group says Harkness twice borrowed money from one of the broker-dealer’s clients “without informing or obtaining prior written approval for the loans,” according to FINRA records.
FINRA stated that while the advisor was employed at UBS, he bought farmland from a client, paying with a $242,250 promissory note. Later, when employed by Stifel, Harkness executed with the client a loan modification of the balance he still owed “without informing or obtaining prior written approval for the loan modification from his firm,” FINRA said.
Harkness operated the farm with his client, according to the letter of acceptance he signed with FINRA in 2015.
Regulators said Harkness “falsely certified” that he had disclosed any loans from customers for five years. (For three of the five years, the advisor also lied about disclosing all outside business activities.)