Merrill Lynch Stockbroker Sanctioned For Unauthorized Trading

Douglas William Stopkey of Richmond Virginia a stockbroker formerly registered with Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner Smith has been suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based on findings that he effected unauthorized trades in customer accounts while registered with Merrill Lynch. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2018059872901 (Oct. 26, 2020).

According to the AWC, approximately 300 trades had been effected by Stopkey in the accounts of four elderly customers without Stopkey having spoken with those customers on days in which he made trades. Customers did not provide Stopkey with any discretionary trading authorization in writing and Merrill Lynch did not authorize those customers’ accounts as discretionary.

The AWC stated that Stopkey failed to be forthcoming on compliance questionnaires. He falsely responded to questions about whether he had effected trades on a discretionary basis before confirming those trades with customers. Stopkey’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rule 2010 and NASD Rule 2510(b).

The regulator also determined that Stopkey mismarked 65 trades to make it seem in seven customer accounts like trades were not solicited. Stopkey violated FINRA Rules 4511 and 2020 in this respect.

This is not the first time that Stopkey has been sanctioned by a securities regulator. He has been fined $15,000.00 by Virginia State Corporation Commission based upon allegations of his discretionary trading, mismarking of order tickets, and failure to follow his customer’s instructions. Case SEC-2019-00061 (Feb. 7, 2020).

FINRA Public Disclosure also confirms that Stopkey is the subject of a customer initiated investment related written complaint which was settled to resolve accusations of Stopkey’s failure to honor a customer’s instructions concerning over-the-counter equities during the time that Stopkey was registered with Merrill Lynch.

Stopkey was discharged from Merrill Lynch on August 23, 2018 supported by allegations of unauthorized trading. He has been registered with Davenport Company since September 17, 2018.