Robert James Batchen, of Skokie, Illinois, a stockbroker formerly registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, was fined $15,000.00 and suspended for five months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity after consenting to findings that he effected unauthorized discretionary trades and unsuitable transactions in a customer account. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2012032960401 (Oct. 31, 2016).

According to the AWC, between January of 2008 and June of 2012, at a time when Batchen was registered with Wells Fargo Advisors, he effected nine hundred and twenty-nine transactions on a discretionary basis in the securities account of a Wells Fargo customer, despite lacking requisite written authorization. In the customer’s account, Batchen effected transactions which apparently included options, traditional and non-traditional exchange traded funds, and other equities.

Apparently, the firm had not approved the customer’s account for trading on a discretionary basis, and the customer never provided Batchen with such authority. As such, FINRA found that Batchen’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rules 2010, as well as NASD Rules 2110 and 2510(b).

The AWC additionally stated that from January of 2008 to June of 2012, Batchen effected a total of fifty-eight unsuitable non-traditional exchange traded fund purchases in the investment accounts of the customer. FINRA found that such transactions were unsuitable based upon the customer’s moderate risk tolerance, conservative objectives of investing, and financial status. Batchen reportedly failed to comprehend the products that he purchased for the customer, which included the risk of the customer bearing substantial losses associated with holding the non-traditional exchange traded funds for extended periods.

The AWC stated that the non-traditional exchange traded funds contained goals which were geared to be accomplished through the course of one trading day. Yet, such products were held for an average of two hundred and twenty-two days in the customer’s account. Consequently, the customer reportedly sustained losses estimated at $56,246.00. FINRA found that Batchen’s unsuitable trading in this regard was violative of FINRA Rule 2010, IM-2310-2, and NASD Rules 2110 and 2310.

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Batchen has been subject to ten incidents regarding misconduct. Particularly, on January 9, 2012, a customer initiated an investment related arbitration action involving Batchen’s misconduct, in which the customer alleged that Batchen failed to follow the customer’s instructions for investing. On May 30, 2012, another customer lodged an investment related arbitration claim pertaining to Batchen’s misconduct, in which the customer requested $46,195.00 in damages based upon allegations that Batchen failed to honor the customer’s instructions to liquidate investment holdings.

On July 17, 2012, a customer initiated investment related arbitration action involving Batchen’s conduct was settled for $135,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Batchen effected unsuitable investment transactions in the customer’s account. On December 6, 2013, another customer initiated investment related arbitration claim involving Batchen’s actions was resolved for $250,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Batchen effected unauthorized and unsuitable trades in the customer’s account.

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that on August 28, 2012, Batchen was terminated from Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, based upon allegations that he traded in customer accounts despite lacking proper authorization. In September of 2012, Batchen became registered with Uhlmann Price Securities LLC, but was terminated on September 28, 2015, based upon allegations that Batchen failed to inform the firm regarding events which were required to be reported to FINRA.

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