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Raymond James & Associates has been fined $250,000.00 and censured by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allowing a firm employee to build and maintain an online document management system (DMS) for client records, which was eventually used to reveal client personal information on the internet. After the employee left Raymond James, the individual was no longer authorized to by the firm to receive personally identifiable information (NYSE:PII) about firm clients. However, a branch office of the firm provided PII of numerous firm clients to the individual, and a second branch office provided the individual with PII of customers and their beneficiaries. FINRA's findings also stated that subsequently, a client complained that her account information and PII were available on the internet. Raymond James had learned that while building and maintaining the DMS, the individual had carelessly posted customer PII to the internet.

FINRA stated that Raymond James contacted the individual, who contacted the search engine to request that the client information be removed, upon notification of the released information. Raymond James then notified regulators of the incident and notified affected clients and their beneficiaries that their PII had been exposed on the internet. The clients and their beneficiaries were offered free credit monitoring and protection services for the incident.

In addition, a firm-approved third-party vendor sent correspondence to clients relating to a cash management account program. Raymond James provided the firms with a list of clients in order to prepare the mailing. The vendor printed and mailed 87,000 mailing envelopes with labels that disclosed each client's account number along with the client's name and address.

Broker-dealers must establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect clients from fraudulent practices by their brokers. If broker-dealers do not establish and/or implement a reasonable supervisory system, they may be liable to investors for damages. According to FINRA, "the firm failed to establish and maintain adequate supervisory systems and procedures to safeguard against the unauthorized disclosure of PII to non-affiliated third parties, and failed to provide customers with opt-out notices prior to disclosing non-public customer information to a non-affiliated third party." Therefore, investors who have suffered damages resulting from such activity can bring forth claims to recover losses against their broker-dealer for failure to take preventative measures.

Have you suffered damages resulting from identity theft while having an account with Raymond James & Associates? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation.

The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! This Investors' Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 30 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors' rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website,, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.