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FINRA Bars Ex-Morgan Stanley/RBC Rep Who Refused to Testify

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred an ex-Morgan Stanley and ex-RBC Capital Markets broker from association with any FINRA member in any capacity after he refused to provide testimony or cooperate in any other way with the regulator’s investigation into his terminations from his former firms, according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Boris Skorodumov signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Feb. 20 in which he agreed to FINRA’s sanction. FINRA accepted the letter Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment Wednesday. RBC and Scott M. Andersen of New York-based law firm Andersen, P.C., who represented Skorodumov in the dispute, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Skorodumov became registered with the regulator as a general securities representative through his association with Morgan Stanley on Oct. 23, 2015, according to the letter. He was with that firm until 2019. Morgan Stanley filed an amended Form U5 termination notice May 23, 2019, saying Skorodumov was “under review for removing confidential information and property, including intellectual property, from the firm,” according to the FINRA AWC letter.

Skorodumov joined RBC in April 2019 but, on June 21, that firm filed a Form U5 disclosing the respondent was terminated for cause as of June 10 for unspecified policy violations, according to FINRA.

On Oct. 30, 2019, FINRA staff sent him a request for on-the-record testimony, but he was granted an extension to provide it, the FINRA AWC letter said. On Dec. 19, he was sent a new request for testimony, but FINRA was informed Jan. 28 that he would neither appear to give testimony or cooperate with the regulator’s investigation in general, FINRA said.

Meanwhile, FINRA also barred Joseph Morris Thurnherr, a former broker at New York-based Wynston Hill Capital, after he too refused to cooperate with an investigation by the regulator.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Thurnherr signed a FINRA AWC letter Feb. 17 in which he agreed to FINRA’s sanction. FINRA accepted the letter Monday.

Wynston Hill and Michael Utilla of the Brooklyn, New York law office of Michael Utilla & Associates, who represented Thurnherr, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

In May 2019, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a consent order through which Thurnherr agreed to the entry of findings that he failed to comply with the terms of a heightened supervision agreement, according to the FINRA AWC letter. The consent order required Thurnherr to pay a civil monetary penalty of $7,500. In October 2017, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation issued an order denying his application for registration in that state, after he failed to contest the state’s preliminary determination that his application for registration included a misrepresentation, according to FINRA.

On Feb. 3, 2020, in connection with an investigation into allegations in a customer-initiated arbitration against Thurnherr, FINRA staff sent a request for information and documents to him, the FINRA AWC letter said. Two days later, the regulator was informed that he would not produce the requested information and documents at any time, according to FINRA.

In refusing to cooperate with the regulator’s investigations, Thurnherr and Skorodumov each violated FINRA Rules 8210 (governing the provision of information and testimony and inspection and copying of books) and 2010 (governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade), according to FINRA.

Although the AWC letter was the only disclosure included on Skorodumov’s FINRA BrokerCheck website profile, there were 13 disclosures on Thurnherr’s BrokerCheck profile. In addition to the AWC letter, the latter also included a 2019 customer dispute in which a client accused Thurnherr of making unsuitable investments, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. Damages of $100,000 were requested. The client settled for $50,000.