Apartment for rent (Photos: Shutterstock)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority fined a former Merrill Lynch rep $5,000 for engaging in a lucrative apartment rental business without timely or fully disclosing his activities to the firm, according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Yury Ivanou signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Sept. 30 in which he agreed to the fine and to be suspended from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity for three months. FINRA accepted the letter Tuesday.

However, Ivanou is no longer associated with any FINRA member and is no longer registered as a broker or an RIA, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

Merrill Lynch declined to comment Wednesday. Howard Rosenburg, a partner at the Chicago law firm Kopecky Schumacher Rosenburg, who represented Ivanou, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Ivanou first became registered with FINRA through Merrill Lynch as a general securities representative in April 2015 and remained registered until Nov. 28, 2018, when the firm filed a Form U5 terminating his registration and disclosing that he was under internal review, according to FINRA.

FINRA opened an investigation into the matter after reviewing the Form U5, it said.

Between January 2017 and October 2018, Ivanou generated more than $400,000 in gross revenue by renting five apartments as short-term rentals via a third-party website, FINRA alleged.

“Ivanou managed the rentals by communicating with guests, accepting reservations, checking in guests upon their arrival, furnishing the rentals, purchasing supplies for the apartments, taking linens to be laundered, and hiring cleaners to clean the apartments,” according to FINRA.

On May 12, 2017, Ivanou completed an annual compliance certification for Merrill Lynch but did not identify his apartment rental business, according to FINRA.

In January 2018, Ivanou “made a partial disclosure after a supervisor overheard him speaking about his rental activities at the office and directed him to make a disclosure,” FINRA alleged.

“However, in submitting the outside business activity disclosure in January 2018, Ivanou failed to accurately identify when his rental activities began, the number of apartments for which he was receiving rental income, the frequency of the rental activity, and the amount of compensation he had received,” according to FINRA.

Prior to his termination from Merrill Lynch, Ivanou had still not corrected his prior disclosures, FINRA said. As a result of his actions, he violated FINRA Rules 3270 and 2010.