Ameriprise Broker Admits To Unauthorized Trading of Customer Accounts
Timothy John Knutson of Saint James Minnesota a stockbroker formerly employed by Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended for five months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that he effected unauthorized transactions in Ameriprise Financial Services’ customer accounts. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2015046406501 (Sept. 28, 2016).
According to the AWC, one hundred forty three trades had been placed by Knutson in the accounts of ten Ameriprise Financial Services customers. Those trades reportedly involved a total of $362,000.00 in customer funds. Apparently, Knutson failed to correspond with customers whose accounts he traded in before Knutson actually made the trades. Moreover, during the time Knutson made those trades, the firm reportedly disallowed brokers from effecting transactions on a discretionary basis.
The AWC stated that Knutson did not fess up to the misconduct when the firm investigated him. Particularly, the firm’s compliance personnel reportedly probed Knutson about his contact with customers, or lack thereof, in regard to the trades Knutson placed in their accounts. Evidently, Knutson claimed to have received customer approval for the transactions. Yet, when the firm spoke with customers, they denied having corresponded with Knutson in reference to the trades.
The AWC detailed that Knutson was probed again by the firm shortly thereafter. Knutson claimed that he spoke with customers on days he placed the trades, which was not true according to FINRA. The AWC stated that Knutson eventually confessed to his failure to speak with those customers. Evidently, those customers never permitted Knutson to exercise discretion in their accounts. FINRA found that Knutson’s conduct in this respect was violative of FINRA Rule 2010 and NASD Rule 2510(b). Moreover, FINRA found Knutson’s numerous lies about his trading activities to be violative of FINRA Rule 2010.
FINRA Public Disclosure confirms the firm terminated Knutson on July 9, 2015 based upon accusations that he executed discretionary trades in a customer’s investment account.