Johnny Earl Burris of Scottsdale Arizona a stockbroker formerly registered with Oppenheimer Co. Inc. has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based on a Hearing Officer’s Order Accepting Offer of Settlement containing findings that (1) Burris failed to follow customers’ instructions concerning the liquidation of customer accounts and (2) Burris resolved a customer’s complaint away from the firm. Department of Enforcement v. Johnny E. Burris, Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2015044921601 (Apr. 7, 2017).

At first glance, this would appear to be the dumbest thing we ever heard.  Is FINRA bringing enforcement actions for bad service?

No, according to the Order, Burris was instructed by a customer to liquidate Franklin Templeton mutual funds from the customer’s account but Burris neglected to execute the customer’s trade. The Order stated that the customer had slated the proceeds from the withdrawal to cover an IRS tax payment, but Burris’ failure to execute the trade caused the customer’s tax payment to be rejected. Thereafter, Burris effected a trade without the customer’s instructions in an attempt to remedy the issue.

Again, not good, but not a the basis of an enforcement action.  However, the AWC also states that  “Burris subsequently attempted to settle the customer’s complaint away from the firm. FINRA found Burris’ conduct violative of FINRA Rule 2010.”  Bingo. That is why FINRA, rightfully so, took action.

FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Burris is referenced in three customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to allegations of his misconduct while employed with J.P. Morgan Securities (formerly known as Chase Investment Services Corporation). Particularly, on April 10, 2013, a customer filed an investment related complaint concerning Burris’ conduct where the customer requested $6,488.40 in damages founded on accusations that unsuitable transactions were placed in the customer’s account and misrepresentations had been made regarding the customer’s mutual fund investments.

On April 11, 2013, another customer filed an investment related complaint involving Burris’ activities in which the customer sought $18,000.00 in damages supported by allegations including misrepresentation and suitability in regard to the customer’s managed account investments. Then, on June 26, 2013, a customer initiated investment related complaint regarding Burris’ conduct was settled for $8,711.00 in damages based upon accusations that unauthorized mutual fund trades had been effected in the customer’s account, and the customer’s documentation had been altered without the customer’s consent.

Burris’ registration with Oppenheimer Co. Inc. was terminated on March 14, 2014.

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