Robert W. Berry, of Fairlawn, Ohio, a stockbroker currently registered with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc., has been fined and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that effected unauthorized trades in customer accounts. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2015046243901 (Mar. 7, 2017).
According to the AWC, discretion was exercised in the firm’s customer accounts by Berry from January of 2013 to June of 2015. Specifically, over fifteen hundred transactions had been effected by Berry in connection with a strategy for implementing stop-loss orders in customer accounts. The customers reportedly never provided written approval for Berry to effect the transactions, and the firm never deemed the customers’ accounts to be approved for discretionary trades. FINRA found that Berry’s conduct in this regard was violative of FINRA Rule 2010, and NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b).
FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Berry has been identified in two customer initiated investment related disputes containing allegations of Berry’s misconduct while employed with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc., and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. Particularly, a customer was awarded $120,000.00 in damages according to an investment related arbitration claim involving Berry’s conduct, based upon allegations that Berry failed to execute the customer’s order to purchase OEX put option contracts, and breached his fiduciary and contractual duties to the customer. Additionally, on May 21, 2015, a customer filed an investment related written complaint regarding Berry’s activities, based upon allegations that Berry effected unsuitable transactions and churned the customer’s investment account.
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