Finra Suspends Arkansas Broker over Side Business Selling RVs
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s crackdown on unapproved outside business activities continues. The industry’s self regulator fined and suspended an Arkansas broker over sales of recreational vehicles, according to a letter of settlement finalized on Thursday.
Cameron sought a state license for the business but did not notify his firm, Raymond James Financial Services, until July, Finra said. In April 2019, he joined another independent firm International Assets Advisory but, once again, did not seek approval until December 2020. The business meanwhile generated sales of $29,000 and $88,699 in 2018 and 2019, according to Finra.
Additionally, Cameron falsely stated in 2019 on an annual compliance questionnaire that all his businesses had been approved by International Assets, according to Finra, which noted that the actions also violated its Rule 2010 requiring “high standards of commercial honor.”
Cameron, who began his career as a broker at A.G. Edwards in 1994, according to BrokerCheck, settled the charges without admitting or denying the findings. His lawyer, Rick Donovan of Rose Law Firm, did not return a request for comment.
In 2019, Cameron agreed to pay $8,000 to Arkansas state securities regulators to resolve allegations that he had in April 2016 attempted to settle a customer complaint for $20,000 without notifying his firm, according to a state order.
Cameron also worked at Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley and Stephens Inc. before joining Raymond James’ independent brokerage unit in 2013.
Cameron left Raymond James in November 2018 and spent five months at LPL before joining International Assets, according to the database. He is “shutting down VRV distribution,” according to the filing, which is not dated.
The report also shows outside business interests in New Horizons Mozambique, a Nampua, Mozambique-based chicken production company, where he is a board member, and LHBG Aviation, a holding company for personal aircraft. He also manages rental properties.
Cameron is the son of Arkansas chicken magnate Ronnie Cameron, according to a 2020 “New Yorker” article on the elder Cameron’s big-money contributions to the campaigns of former President Donald Trump and other Republicans and according to an obituary for his mother, Sherrill Heerwagen, who was Ronnie Cameron’s second wife and who died in 2018.
Finra, which said it was tipped off to the VRV activity by Raymond James’ U5 termination filing, has been keeping a close watch on brokers’ outside business activities as it looks to police potential customer conflicts.
Finra last week levied a $7,500 fine and four-month suspension against a former Morgan Stanley Wealth Management broker who received loans from customers and also earned rental income from a beach-front property in Panama, according to a separate letter of acceptance.
Steve P. Melen purchased the property in 2013 but then decided to rent it out and hired a property-management company to oversee the maintenance and rentals.
Between October 2013 and April 2019, he received $200,000 in compensation but did not disclose the property to Morgan Stanley in writing or on annual compliance attestations in violation of Rule 3270 and Rule 2010.
The regulator also said he had borrowed $307,000 from two firm customers in violation of firm and industry rules. Neither of the customers had complained, Finra noted.
A lawyer for Melen, who has been registered as a broker with LPL Financial since 2019, according to BrokerCheck, did not return a request for comment.
—Jake Martin contributed to this story.