Michael R. Highfill from Ridgeland, Misssippi, a former general securities representative and general securities sales supervisor with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., was barred from association with any FINRA-registered firm in all capacities after failing to provide information and documentation in connection with FINRA’s investigation into allegations that Highfill solicited and had accepted a loan from an elderly customer, while also failing to disclose an outside business activity. Department of Enforcement v. Michael Ross Highfill, STAR No. 2015045652501 (Aug. 6, 2015).

FINRA Department of Enforcement Order of Settlement

According to the FINRA Department of Enforcement Order of Settlement of Michael Ross Highfill, FINRA, pursuant to Rule 8210, had sent multiple letters to Highfill requesting that Highfill provide information and documentation as part of FINRA’s investigation into the allegations that Highfill solicited and had accepted a loan from an elderly customer, while additionally failing to disclose an outside business activity. Highfill failed to respond to such requests. Rather, according to the Order, Highfill had submitted an Offer of Settlement where Highfill had consented to FINRA’s allegations and sanction of a permanent bar for associating with any FINRA member in any capacity.

FINRA registered representatives like Highfill 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.

According to FINRA Public Disclosure Records

Highfill has been subject to 4 disclosure events from 2008 through 2015. In July 11, 2008, Highfill was terminated (via voluntary resignation) after allegations that Highfill was under an internal review for allegedly endorsing a client’s checks at the client’s request for purpose of paying the client’s expenses. On May 8, 2014, a party was awarded $286,005.84 for undisclosed conduct. On May 8, 2015, prior to the FINRA action which resulted in Highfill’s permanent bar, Merrill Lynch had terminated Highfill (via discharge) for the aforementioned conduct.

Guiliano Law Group

If you have been the victim of securities fraud and you have a complaint, you should consult with an attorney. The practice of Nicholas J. Guiliano, Esq., and The Guiliano Law Group, P.C., is limited to the representation of investors in claims for fraud in connection with the sale of securities, the sale or recommendation of excessively risky or unsuitable securities, breach of fiduciary duty, and the failure to supervise. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost unless we make a recovery for you, and there is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.

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