The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority suspended an ex-Merrill Lynch general securities representative for nine months and fined him $10,000 for not disclosing a felony indictment and allegedly making multiple unauthorized transactions in client accounts, according to FINRA.
On or about March 18, 2015, Sylvester Knox was indicted on, and pleaded not guilty to, a third-degree charge of aggravated assault with bodily injury, FINRA said.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Knox submitted a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent to FINRA last week in which he agreed to the regulator’s sanctions. FINRA accepted the letter Thursday.
Merrill Lynch spokesman Bill Halldin told ThinkAdvisor on Friday that Knox didn’t disclose the felony until March 2017 — ”two months after he was gone from Merrill.”
While his actions were being investigated, Knox voluntarily resigned on Jan. 5, 2017, according to his FINRA’s BrokerCheck report. The disclosure was made by Knox “nearly two years late,” according to the AWC letter.
Unauthorized Trades, 18 Complaints
In a disclosure on BrokerCheck report, Merrill Lynch cited “conduct including engaging in unauthorized transactions in certain client accounts, making misrepresentations to certain clients and conduct inconsistent with firm policies related to client complaints and outside speaking engagements.”
Knox and attorneys at the New York law firm Gusrae Kaplan Nusbaum who represented him in the dispute with FINRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
In August 2000, Knox became registered with FINRA as a GSR through his association with Merrill Lynch.
While with the firm, he was the subject of 18 client complaints, according to BrokerCheck. The vast majority of them were in 2016 and involved claims of unauthorized account activity and misrepresentation.