Next Financial Stockbroker Caught Unauthorized Trading

Steven Elliott Zerbarini of Safety Harbor Florida a stockbroker formerly employed by Next Financial Group Inc. has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based uponconsenting to findings that Zerbarini executed transactions in Next Financial Group Inc. customers’ accounts without the customers having provided Zerbarini authorization. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2018059336001 (Apr. 22, 2019).

According to the AWC, during the time Zerbarini had been employed with Next Financial Group Inc., it was not permissible for stockbrokers to effect discretionary purchases and sales of stocks or other investments in customer accounts absent a customer furnishing written authorization allowing for the stockbroker’s discretionary trading.

Evidently, despite the firm’s prohibitions against discretionary trading, trades had been placed by Zerbarini in customers’ accounts in May 2018 on a discretionary basis. In particular, a total of sixty-seven trades had been executed by Zerbarini in more than fifty accounts. Zerbarini reportedly never possessed any written authorization from the customers to warrant his activities. Moreover, the customers’ accounts were not approved or otherwise accepted by the firm for purposes of Zerbarini’s discretionary trading.

The AWC also stated that Zerbarini was obligated under National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Rule 2510(b) to refrain from engaging in any discretionary trading unless the activities were authorized in writing by the customer and the securities broker dealer. FINRA found Zerbarini’s conduct violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and NASD Rules 2510(b).
Zerbarini was registered with Next Financial Group Inc. between December 1, 2006 and December 18, 2018.