Friday, September 11, 2009

Borrowing from Customers Part 2

To follow up on the previous post , another agent got in trouble with FINRA for borrowing from a customer, but ended up with a much lighter punishment:
James Kelly Breeze (CRD #2591120, Registered Representative,Medford, Oregon) submitted a Letter of Acceptance,Waiver, and Consent in which he was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for 60 days. Without admitting or denying the findings, Breeze consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that he purchased a building from a customer for $850,000, with the customer agreeing to finance the entire purchase. The findings stated that Breeze had a personal relationship with the customer outside of the broker/customer relationship. The findings also stated that Breeze’s member firm’s written procedures allowed its registered representatives to borrow from customers, but prior written approval was required, and Breeze failed to obtain his firm’s written approval before entering into the borrowing arrangement with the customer.

So, even though it involved a much larger amount of money, the fact is that his firm would have allowed the agent to borrow from the customer, if he had only gotten written permission first. FINRA is reasonable; they know there's a difference between doing something your firm prohibits and doing something they don't prohibit but failing to get written approval.

Either way, what the heck are all these agents doing borrowing money from clients? I have a better idea--try making some money for your clients and do your borrowing from your bank or your bookie like everyone else.

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