Western International Securities Stockbroker Barred By FINRA
Dennis Albert Mehringer Jr. of Pasadena California a stockbroker formerly registered with Western International Securities is the subject of a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) National Adjudicatory Council Decision which affirmed a FINRA Extended Hearing Panel’s barring of Mehringer from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity based upon findings that (1) Mehringer effected discretionary trades in customer accounts without written authorization (2) Mehringer effected short-term mutual fund trades that were unsuitable for customers (3) Mehringer provided Western International Securities with false information concerning customer complaints and (4) Mehringer resolved a customer complaint away from the securities broker dealer. In the Matter of Department of Enforcement v. Dennis A. Mehringer Jr. Complaint No. 2014041868001 (June 15, 2020).
The Decision stated that Mehringer sold 82 mutual fund share positions in customer ES’s account in less than twelve months from the time that those positions were purchased. The Decision revealed that positions were sold many times within three-to-six months. The stockbroker effected intra-day switches of mutual funds and engaged in circular trading in ES’s account. His problematic trading netted him $150,000.00 in commissions while ES sustained $55,000.00 in losses. The National Adjudicatory Council determined that Mehringer did not have an adequate foundation to conclude that his short-term trading was appropriate for the customer given the costs associated with his trading and the fact that Mehringer’s trading conflicted with the customers’ time horizon and objectives for investing. Mehringer violated FINRA Rule 2111 in this respect.
National Adjudicatory Council also noted that Mehringer engaged in unauthorized trading. ES’s position in a Japanese-based fund had been liquidated by Mehringer without him generating pre-trade confirmation from the customer. The stockbroker also did not have approval from Western International Securities to exercise discretion. Mehringer violated FINRA Rule 2010 and National Association of Securities Dealer (NASD) Rule 2510(b) in this respect.
The Decision additionally noted that Mehringer lied to Western International Securities about Mehringer Education Trust. The stockbroker failed to be forthcoming as to its purpose and use of funds which was violative of FINRA Rule 2010. National Adjudicatory Council also determined that Mehringer paid customer MN $47,777.98 as a settlement of the customer’s complaint without Western International Securities’ knowledge or consent in violation of FINRA Rule 2010.
This is not the first time that Mehringer has been sanctioned by FINRA. He has been barred from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that he failed to testify for FINRA personnel in its investigation into accusations of his misconduct including unsuitable trading when the stockbroker was associated with Western International Securities. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2019061994701 (Oct. 18, 2019).
FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Mehringer has been identified in twelve customer initiated investment related disputes containing allegations of his misconduct while employed by First Allied Securities and Western International Securities. On December 11, 2019, a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim concerning Mehringer’s activities was resolved for $225,000.00 in damages founded on accusations of unauthorized trading and fraud. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-01253. The claim also alleges that misrepresentations were made to the customer and that there was a breach of fiduciary duty on Mehringer’s part.
On December 31, 2019, an additional customer initiated investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Mehringer’s conduct was settled for $1,000,000.00 in damages supported by allegations that transactions facilitated in the customer’s account failed to be suitable and that a fiduciary duty which was owed to the customer had been breached by the stockbroker as it pertained to mutual fund and stock transactions that he executed while at Western International Securities. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-00667. Mehringer has also been referenced in a customer initiated investment related complaint on February 14, 2020 in which the customer requested $3,084,342.00 in damages supported by allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and suitability as it pertained to exchange traded funds and equities transactions which caused the customer to experience unreasonable investment losses.
Mehringer’s employment with Western International Securities has been terminated on May 7, 2018.