Wells Broker Clears His Record As Arbitrator Finds Ex-Manager Drummed Up Complaint
An arbitrator has paved the way for a 24-year industry veteran to clear his record of a long-ago client dispute after finding that a former PaineWebber manager had called the broker’s clients to drum up issues after he left the firm in 2000.
Curtis Parry, who ranked 105th on Forbes’ 2021 list of ‘Best-in-State’ wealth advisors in California with $631 million in team assets, had filed a statement of claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against PaineWebber successor firm UBS Financial Services in February of last year.
In the underlying complaint, which sought unspecified damages over $5,000, the clients had accused Parry of purchasing “certain securities for their accounts without their approval.” It settled for $4,633.38, according to his BrokerCheck.
UBS did not oppose Curtis Parry’s request or participate in the hearing, according to the award. The customers in the underlying complaint did not respond to a notice of the expungement request or participate in the hearing.
Reached at his Wells office on Wednesday, Parry, who works out of Woodland Hills, appeared pleased with the outcome.
“I would just say I’m thankful to Chelsea Masters who helped me out,” he said, referring to his lawyer. He declined further comment on the award or how the disclosure had affected his career.
Masters, who works at HLBS Law in Westminster, Colorado, did not respond to a request for comment on the outcome of the proceeding or why Parry only now sought expungement.
A UBS spokesperson declined to comment on the arbitration decision or Parry’s claims regarding his former manager.
The decision touches on the heated battles that can ensue when brokers leave and firms fight to keep customers.
The sole public arbitrator in Parry’s case, Constance Ellen Boukidis, based her decision in part on the alleged attempts by the Parry brothers’ former branch manager to concoct client complaints after their departures in 2000 from PaineWebber. Parry had said that the manager had contacted “a number” of clients after their departure “to persuade them to file complaints against Claimant and his brother,” according to the award.
“There was a lot of friction between Claimant’s brother and the manager of the branch, which led to his brother’s termination and Claimant’s resignation,” the arbitrator wrote in a lengthy explanation.
The arbitrator also noted that the brother, Charles, had been PaineWebber’s “top producer” at the time. Charles was discharged from PaineWebber in August for alleged “misrepresentation in the purchase of a certificate of deposit and trading in an account without proper paperwork,” according to BrokerCheck.
Asked if he would seek expungement of his discharge, Charles said, “I’ve moved on with my life,” but added that he approved of his brother’s effort.
Parry Private Wealth Management Group joined Wells in 2019 after a decade at Merrill Lynch. It’s the second sojourn at Wells for the brothers, who had spent nine years at the firm following their exits from PaineWebber.
The alleged events in the underlying complaint against Curtis Parry were tied to a complaint filed on September 28, 2000, two weeks after the broker left the firm for Wells the first time.
The customers brought their dispute over Class C-share international mutual funds, but Boukidis found that they had been properly informed of the allocation and that Parry’s recommendation was a prudent effort to diversify a small portion of their portfolio.
“The Customers were involved in the details of all the investments and even received a 70-page binder that contained all of the proposals from Claimant and his brother,” she wrote.
Parry and the customers spoke regularly between March and August of 2000 regarding the performance of the portfolio, particularly as the technology sector was declining through the year, and Parry’s manager, meanwhile, approved all the recommendations made to the customers, the arbitrator wrote.
Broker expungements have been in the spotlight as plaintiffs’ lawyers have been criticizing the high success rates brokers have in cleaning their record. Finra in May shelved an initial proposal that the plaintiff’s bar claimed as inadequate to curb expungements.
Bill Singer, a securities lawyer who blogs about regulatory cases, said the arbitrator’s rationale in this case appeared well-reasoned.
“Sometimes the gears all mesh perfectly and the machinery of justice grinds on smoothly,” he wrote. “This case is one such effort.”
Parry will have to obtain confirmation from a court to expunge the ‘disclosure’ from his record, according to Finra.