To settle a recent FINRA enforcement action , In the Matter of Arthur Apostol, Respondent, (AWC 2012032570701, February 5, 2013, the subject broker, Mr. Apostol submitted a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent. The action brought by FINRA was for a rules violations for an abuse that we see all too many times in the course of our practice representing clients seeking recovery of stock market losses.
The abuse we are talking about is when a broker decides it is much easier to sign his client's signature than it is to have the client sign the necessary documents.
In the instant case Mr. Apostol, who worked for NewAlliance Investments, was transferring to a new position at LPL Financial during the summer of 2011. As is generally the case, he desired to take as many of his old clients with him to his new job at LPL as possible. In order to transfer an account from one firm to another there are certain transfer documents that must be signed by the customer authorizing and acknowledging the transfer.
FINRA alleges that he submitted new account forms in connection with the transfer of the accounts on which he had affixed customer signatures by cutting and pasting signatures from other documents that contained authentic signatures. In addition, FINRA alleged that in several instances he had clients sign blank forms which he intended to complete in the future.
FINRA suspended Apostol for three months and fined him $5,000.According to the FINRA BrokerCheck site, Apostol is not currently registered with FINRA.
If you purchased an annuity, a limited partnership, a private placement or other alternative investment, in most instances there are documents that should have been presented to you for signature.
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.