FINRA Suspends LPL Stockbroker For Unauthorized Trading

John William Bernard of Shell Beach, California, a stockbroker registered with LPL Financial LLC, has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that he placed trades in customer accounts without authorization. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2015044696201 (Dec. 27, 2017).

According to the AWC, from January of 2013 to December of 2014, during the time he was associated with LPL Financial, he executed trades in seven customers’ accounts on a discretionary basis. The AWC stated that Bernard’s activities were not authorized by the customers in writing, nor did the accounts receive approval from LPL for purposes of trading to be effected on a discretionary basis. Consequently, FINRA found that Bernard’s unauthorized trading was violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and NASD Rule 2510(b).

FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Bernard is referenced in two customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to allegations of his misconduct during the time he was employed with LPL Financial LLC. Particularly, on May 6, 2015, a customer filed an investment related written complaint involving Bernard’s conduct, where the customer requested $15,975.69 in damages based upon accusations that Bernard churned the customer’s investment account, and executed unsuitable real estate security and equity transactions in the customer’s account. The customer additionally alleged that LPL Financial LLC failed to supervise Bernard’s activities.

Subsequently, on April 19, 2016, a customer initiated investment related written complaint regarding Bernard’s activities was resolved for $11,729.70 in damages supported by allegations that Bernard churned the customer’s over-the-counter equities portfolio and effected trades in the customer’s account without the customer’s consent.

Bernard was fired from LPL Financial on February 13, 2015, based upon accusations that he engaged in time and price based discretion in violation of LPL Financial LLC’s policy. Bernard was later registered with Independent Financial Group, LLC until December 31, 2017.

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