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FINRA Bars Ex-Ladenburg Broker Accused of Forging Client Signatures

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What You Need to Know

  • The former Triad Advisors and American Independent Securities Group rep was terminated by both firms.
  • In addition to forging clients' signatures, he also allegedly traded in clients' accounts without authorization.
  • The ex-broker did not produce documents when requested by FINRA, which is typically a surefire way to be barred.

A former broker for Ladenburg Thalmann’s Triad Advisors, which is now owned by Advisor Group, has been barred from the industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority after he was accused of forging client signatures and making unauthorized trades in clients’ accounts, then refused to produce documents as FINRA requested, according to the self-regulatory group.

Nathan Gersteen Katz signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on June 17 in which he consented to the imposition of a bar from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities. FINRA signed the letter Friday.

Katz became registered as a general securities representative through his association with Triad Advisors in June 2001. On Aug. 20, 2018, Triad filed a Form 5 Uniform Termination Notice stating that it discharged Katz’s association with the firm for “failure to follow firm policies and procedures, including those related to customer signatures,” according to FINRA.

A “signature irregularity was noted on a customer document and prompted an internal review, which included an on site field audit and discussions” with the rep, according to a disclosure on his report at FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.

Katz went on to become registered as a rep through his association with American Independent Securities Group in October 2018. On Jan. 25, 2021, however, AISG filed a Form U5 stating that it terminated Katz’s association with the firm for “[e]xercising discretion in a client’s account without written authorization and conduct inconsistent with AISG’s policies,” according to FINRA.

On May 17, 2021, in connection with its investigation, FINRA sent a request to Katz for the production of information or documents, it said in the AWC letter. However, “as stated in his counsel’s email to FINRA on June 8, 2021, and by this agreement, Katz acknowledges that he received FINRA’s request and will not produce the information or documents requested at any time,” FINRA said.

By refusing to produce the information or documents as requested, Katz violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010, according to FINRA.

“As a matter of policy we don’t comment on legal or regulatory matters, nor do we publicly discuss professionals who are no longer affiliated with our firm,” an Advisor Group spokesperson told ThinkAdvisor on Monday. Advisor Group announced in late 2019 that it was acquiring Ladenburg Thalmann.

AISG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“While Mr. Katz might otherwise take issue with the factual bases of any allegations of misconduct, especially so given that he has not been the subject of any customer complaint for nearly 20 years and served valued clients for 6 decades, he has chosen to retire from the securities industry,” Robert V. Cornish, Jr., an attorney representing Katz, told ThinkAdvisor by email on Monday.

(Photo: Adobe Stock)