Ex-Jones Broker Suspended for Attempting DIY Settlement with Client
(Updated to include statement from Edward Jones spokeswoman.)
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined and suspended a former Edward Jones & Co. broker after he attempted to settle a customer complaint without the firm’s knowledge using his personal funds, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent finalized on Tuesday.
In June 2020, a client of O’Bannon’s wanted to transfer shares of his employer-company stock to his Edward Jones account, but the shares were liquidated instead after O’Bannon “mistakenly advised” the customer about how to complete some of the documents necessary for the transfer, Finra said.
In August, after receiving a verbal complaint from the client, O’Bannon sent a personal check for $2,678.50 to the client to “partially compensate” him, according to the regulator. Upon receipt of the check, the client took his complaint directly to Edward Jones.
The actions violated Finra’s “catch all” Rule 2010 requiring “high standards of commercial honor,” according to the settlement letter.
O’Bannon and his attorney, Joel M. Wertman, with Winget, Spadafora & Schwartzberg in Philadelphia, did not immediately return requests for comment.
“After learning of the unauthorized conduct in question, Edward Jones conducted an investigation and ultimately terminated Mr. O’Bannon’s employment,” a spokeswoman for Edward Jones said.
Edward Jones in October had fired O’Bannon for “[c]oncerns the registered representative tried to remedy a processing error in a client account by providing personal funds of the registered representative to the client,” according to Finra. O’Bannon joined FSC Securities Corporation in Iowa later that month and is still registered with the firm, according to his BrokerCheck.
In a similar case in August, Finra suspended an Edward Jones broker in Topeka, Kansas for 10 days and fined him $2,500 for allegedly writing a $2,500 check out of pocket to resolve a complaint from a customer who claimed she lost money after he failed to close an account in time as the market was tanking in March.