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FINRA Bars Yet Another Ex-Broker From Shuttered BD First Standard

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FINRA sign outside its headquarters in New York. Outside FINRA headquarters in New York. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred yet another ex-broker who had been associated with First Standard Financial — a Red Bank, New Jersey-based broker-dealer whose license was recently canceled by FINRA — from associating with any FINRA member firm in any and all capacities.

While investigating allegations that Alec C. Franks engaged in excessive trading in customer accounts as well as outside business activities while associated with First Standard, FINRA requested in March that he provide information and documents, the regulator said. Franks initially cooperated with FINRA’s request, but informed it via email Sept. 2 that he would not provide the info or documents, FINRA said.

As a result, Davis 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.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Franks signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Sept. 17 in which he agreed to the sanction. FINRA accepted the letter Friday.

Franks was registered as a general securities representative with First Standard from August 2014 through April 2019, according to FINRA.

Although First Standard had “held itself out as a legitimate financial services firm,” the firm actually “served as a haven for greedy, dishonest agents who traded clients’ accounts like sharks in a feeding frenzy,” Christopher W. Gerold, chief of the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, said in a statement Nov. 4, around the time the firm withdrew its registration.

Another ex-First Standard rep, Philip Joseph Sparacino, was recently barred by FINRA from acting as a broker or associating with a BD firm, according to BrokerCheck. FINRA had previously barred ex-First Standard rep Gabriel Block from acting as a broker or associating with a BD firm, according to BrokerCheck.

On Oct. 31, 2019, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued a Summary Revocation Order against First Standard, revoking its registration in that state for, among other things, engaging in what the agency called a “fraudulent course of business that consisted of excessive, unsuitable, and frequently unauthorized short-term trading in customer accounts that generated commissions for First Standard and its agents at its customers’ expense.”

First Standard filed a Uniform Request Withdrawal from Broker-Dealer Registration on or around Nov. 5, 2019. FINRA went on to cancel its license in January, according to the firm’s profile on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.