Ameritas Stockbroker Fined By FINRA For Unauthorized Trading
Daniel K. Kittner of Mesa Arizona a stockbroker formerly employed by Ameritas Investment Corp. has been has been fined $7,500.00 and suspended for two months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that he exercised discretion in a customer’s account without having written authorization. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2017056550601 (Oct. 4, 2018).
FINRA noted in the AWC that registered representatives had been prohibited under National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Rule 2510(b) from engaging in discretionary trading in a customer’s account absent (1) written authorization being provided by the customer and (2) the firm providing a written acceptance of the customer’s account as discretionary.
Nevertheless, the AWC stated that between June of 2015 and September of 2017, Kittner effected about seven hundred trades in two customers’ investment accounts without having communicated with the customers before the trades had been executed. Apparently, Kittner lacked the customer’s written authorization to exercise discretion in the customers’ accounts. Moreover, he never sought nor obtained permission from the firm to trade in the customer’s account on a discretionary basis. FINRA found Kittner’s conduct in this respect to be violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and NASD Rule 2510(b).
The AWC additionally stated that at the times Kittner placed trades, he mismarked them as non-discretionary, leading the firm to maintain inaccurate records in violation of Securities Exchange Act of 1934 Section 17(a) and Rule 17a-3. As a result, Kittner’s conduct was found by FINRA to be violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511.
FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Kittner has been identified in two customer initiated investment related disputes containing accusations of Kittner’s misconduct. In particular, on December 6, 2005, a customer filed an investment related complaint concerning Kittner’s activities in which the customer sought $14,760.42 in damages supported by allegations that while Kittner was associated with Edward Jones, he failed to explain that the customer was able to receive breakpoint discounts on mutual fund investments; failed to inform the customer about the maturity of certificate of deposit investments; neglected to detail the terms and conditions of the variable annuity investments; charged the customer fees that had not been discussed with the customer at the time that the purchase was consummated; and placed the customer in investments that failed to be suitable given the customer’s age and tolerance for risk.
On May 1, 2018, the customer initiated investment related complaint regarding Kittner’s conduct was resolved for $41,000.00 in damages based upon accusations that while Kittner was associated with Ameritas Investment Corp., he effected unauthorized trades in the customer’s account and charged the customer excessive commissions on equities transactions executed in the customer’s account.
Kittner was terminated from Ameritas Investment Corp. on November 1, 2017 while under the firm’s internal investigation into a customer’s complaint.
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