The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority suspended an ex-Ameriprise broker for nine months from association with any FINRA member in all capacities after he invested about $550,000 of his clients’ money in his friend’s energy firm without Ameriprise’s approval, violating FINRA and Ameriprise rules, according to the regulator.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Robert Nicholas Korzik signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent May 4 in which he agreed to FINRA’s suspension and an $8,500 fine. FINRA accepted the letter Tuesday.
In October 2011, Korzik became associated with Ameriprise as a general securities representative, according to FINRA. On Oct. 23, 2017, Ameriprise filed a Form U5, terminating his employment for “company policy violations related to private securities investments,” the AWC letter said, quoting Ameriprise.
“The advisor’s actions were in direct violation of our clear policies,” an Ameriprise spokeswoman told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday, adding: “We investigated and terminated him, as appropriate.”
The event cited in the FINRA AWC letter was the “only undisclosed private-securities transaction Mr. Korzik has engaged in over the course of his career,” according to attorney Kevin Galbraith, who represented Korzik in the dispute. “He was not compensated, nor did he expect to be compensated,” Galbraith told ThinkAdvisor, adding: “The investors, when given the option of exiting the investment, affirmatively chose to remain invested.”
In September 2016, “JB,” Korzik’s friend and CEO of an energy company, identified only as “AEC” in the AWC letter, sent Korzik an email soliciting investments in AEC, according to FINRA. The email indicated that AEC was looking to raise $1.2 million in a private offering and attached a copy of AEC’s investor slide deck, private placement memorandum and business plan, the AWC letter said.