Wells Fargo Stockbroker Suspended For Unauthorized Trading

Barbara L. Bottoms, of Fairbanks, Arkansas, a stockbroker with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, was fined $17,500.00 and suspended for two years from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm in any capacity after consenting to findings that she engaged in the unauthorized trading in customer accounts. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2015046794502 (Sept. 8, 2016).

According to the AWC, from June 12, 2015, through June 15, 2015, a total of seventy-three customers had transactions effected in their accounts by Bottoms. Apparently, the transactions were executed in conformance with a Wells Fargo investment mutual fund portfolio model. Bottoms reportedly made investments into the funds with investors’ cash balances. Critically; however, the AWC stated that Bottoms never received customers’ written permission to engage in the transactions, and customers had not approved of such. FINRA found that Bottoms’ conduct was violative of FINRA Rule 2010.

The AWC further reported that Bottoms indicated to her firm that the aforementioned transactions were solicited, when in fact they were not. FINRA found that Bottoms’ conduct in this regard, in which she caused inaccuracies in her firms’ records and books, was conduct violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511.

FINRA also cited Bottoms for violating FINRA Rule 2010 as a result of removing spreadsheets from her employer’s premises which had contained personal and nonpublic information regarding the affected customers. FINRA claimed that Bottoms placed the records at risk by keeping them in a location that was unsecured. As such, FINRA found her to have violated FINRA Rules 2010.

Finally, the AWC referenced that Bottoms was sent a letter by FINRA on May 16, 2016, in which FINRA requested, per FINRA Rule 8210, that Bottoms provide recorded testimony on June 3, 2016, in connection with FINRA’s investigation into allegations of her misconduct. Bottoms reportedly communicated with FINRA’s personnel on May 16, 2015, in which she stated that she understood FINRA’s request, but she would not be cooperating.

The AWC stated that Bottoms eventually provided the recorded testimony that FINRA requested in August 2016, yet this was done after her registration was suspended for failing to previously appear. FINRA found that Bottoms’ failure to cooperate was violative of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.

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