Former Newbridge Securities Broker Barred by FINRA for Failure to Cooperate with FINRA Investigation
Brian M. Berger, a former Newbridge Securities Broker, was barred from association with any FINRA-registered firm in all capacities after Berger failed to cooperate with a FINRA investigation in connection with allegations that he misappropriated funds from elderly customers while registered with Wells Fargo Advisors LLC and MetLife Securities, Inc. FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 201504572501 (July 23, 2015).
FINRA Investigation into Allegations of Misappropriated Funds
According to the Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”), in June 2015, FINRA launched an investigation into allegations that Berger misappropriated funds from elderly customers while registered with Wells Fargo Advisors LLC and MetLife Securities, Inc. The AWC indicated that FINRA staff requested on multiple occasions, per FINRA Rule 8210, that Berger produce documents and information pertaining to the allegations. FINRA also requested that Berger appear for on-the-record testimony by July 2, 2015. The AWC further indicates that after initially appearing to cooperate with FINRA’s demands, Berger’s counsel wrote to FINRA to inform them that Berger opted not to cooperate with FINRA’s staff or attend the on-the-record testimony.
Bereger Fails to Cooperate with FINRA Investigation
FINRA registered representatives like Berger who do not cooperate with FINRA’s investigations often face a permanent bar from practicing in the securities industry as such lack of cooperation violates FINRA’s Rule 8210 – requiring that no member or person shall fail to provide information or testimony or permit an inspection and copying of books, records, or accounts pursuant to the rule. FINRA typically accompanies a Rule 8210 violation with a Rule 2010 violation when individuals, according to FINRA, do not appear to observe high standards for commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.
Public disclosure records reveal that Berger has been subject to at least two customer disputes which have settled, while a third customer dispute is pending. Most recently, Berger settled a claim for $186,474.44 where a client alleged payments against her brokerage accounts for discover card accounts owned by the financial advisor were unauthorized. In another dispute, Berger settled a claim for $13,5000 after claims of unsuitability and misrepresentation. Public records also reveal that in April, 2015, MetLife terminated Berger after he did not follow company policy with respect to customer signatures on account documents.
Investors suffering losses or damages caused by Brian M. Berger in connection with his aforementioned conduct may be able to recover their investment losses.
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