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FINRA Bars Ex-J.P. Morgan Rep Who Thumbed Her Nose at Probe

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred an ex-J.P. Morgan rep from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for using her personal email and cellphone to communicate with clients, and then ignoring repeated requests by the regulator to cooperate with its investigation into her termination from the firm, according to FINRA.

Adrienne Jaime Mak also added a customer’s initials next to a change on an investment switch letter, according to a FINRA Office of Hearing Officers Order Accepting Order of Settlement filed Tuesday. She consented to FINRA’s settlement offer, without admitting to or denying the regulator’s allegations, according to FINRA.

Mak, through her association with J.P. Morgan Securities, was registered with FINRA as an investment company and variable contracts products representative from October 2012 to May 2018, and as a general securities representative from June 2014 to May 2018, according to FINRA.

On May 25, 2018, J.P. Morgan Securities filed a Form U5, disclosing that it discharged Mak because she violated firm policy by using her personal email and mobile phone to communicate with clients and also added a customer’s initials next to a change on an investment switch letter.

J.P. Morgan declined to comment Wednesday. In a disclosure on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, J.P. Morgan said its former rep “indicated she did not submit the form before the customer initialed the changes.” She is no longer registered as a broker or RIA, according to BrokerCheck.

In June 2018, FINRA’s Preliminary Investigations Unit started investigating the circumstances of Mak’s departure from J.P. Morgan Securities. PIU asked Mak, in writing, for information about J.P. Morgan’s explanation in her Form U5 of why the firm terminated her association, according to FINRA. PIU served its request by certified mail and first-class mail to Mak’s last known address and it was delivered on July 11, 2018, but the mailing was not returned, it said. “Mak did not respond to PIU’s request in any way,” FINRA added.

PIU sent its request for a second time and she “did not respond to PIU’s request in any way,” according to FINRA. On Oct. 10, 2018, the FINRA Department of Enforcement sent Mak a notice informing her that she would be suspended Nov. 5, 2018, if she did not comply with PIU’s June or September 2018 requests or request a hearing, and again “Mak did not respond in any way,” according to FINRA, which claimed Mak violated FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210.

On Nov. 5, 2018, Department of Enforcement sent Mak a notice stating that she was suspended from associating with any FINRA member and warning her that she would be automatically barred Jan. 14, 2019, if she did not request termination of her suspension on grounds of full compliance, FINRA said. “Mak again did not respond to PIU’s requests,” but sent a letter dated Dec. 1, 2018, to Department of Enforcement, requesting FINRA terminate her suspension, “without claiming that she had complied in any fashion with PIU’s requests,” according to the regulator.

On Jan. 17, 2019, the Department of Enforcement denied Mak’s request to terminate her suspension, FINRA said.