The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred an ex-Hilliard Lyons rep from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity after he declined to cooperate with the regulator’s investigation into several customer complaints that he conducted trading in clients’ accounts without their permission and made unsuitable investments, according to the regulator.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Christopher Duke Bennett signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent June 15 in which he agreed to FINRA’s sanction. FINRA accepted the letter Friday.
Bennett was a rep with Hilliard Lyons from 1995 until October 2018, when “Bennett terminated his registration” with the firm, according to FINRA.
Baird, which purchased Hilliard Lyons in 2019, and Andrea Greene Wells, a principal at the law firm Bressler Amery & Ross, who represented Bennett in the dispute with FINRA, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
During Bennett’s time with Hilliard Lyons, there were 15 customer complaints involving him, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, which shows he is no longer registered as a broker or RIA.
The first complaint, in which a client alleged poor account performance, was denied in 2016. However, the one after it resulted in $445,000 in damages being granted in arbitration to the customer, whose daughter complained of unauthorized and unsuitable trades. Eight other customer complaints were settled and five are still pending. Nearly all of them involved claims of unsuitable and/or unauthorized trading.