Donald Lee Stark, of Waterloo, Iowa, a stockbroker currently registered with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, 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 effected trades in a customer’s account without the customer’s consent. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2017053310601 (June 15, 2017).

According to the AWC, between March of 2015 and August of 2016, discretion had been exercised by Stark in elderly customer EC’s account, where in sixteen circumstances Stark effected the purchase of equities and on eight circumstances he sold EC’s holdings. The AWC stated that EC had verbal discussions with Stark in reference to management of EC’s account; however, EC never provided written authorization that warranted EC’s exercise of discretion. Moreover, the customer’s account was not approved by the firm for registered representatives to place trades on a discretionary basis. Consequently, FINRA found that Stark’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rule 2010 and NASD Rule 2510(b).

This is not the first time that Stark has been sanctioned for unauthorized trading. Particularly, Stark has been previously censured and fined $5,000.00 by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., based upon consenting to findings that while associated with Piper, Jaffray & Hopwood, Inc., he placed options transactions in the customer’s investment account despite having lacked the customer’s authorization. (CHI-968-AWC).

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Public Disclosure reveals that Stark has been identified in two customer initiated investment related disputes containing allegations of his misconduct while employed with Piper Jaffray, Inc., wherein customers collectively requested $179,992.00 in damages based upon allegations that he effected unsuitable investment transactions in their accounts.

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