Finra Suspends Ameriprise Broker Who Sold Stock to His Managers
An Ameriprise Financial broker accused of selling more than $1.5 million of privately issued shares to clients and his sales managers has agreed to a one-year suspension from the securities industry and a fine of $10,000.
William Wesley Marshall, a medical school graduate who has worked as a broker for more than 16 years, agreed to the sanctions from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority without admitting or denying the findings, according to the settlement agreement posted by Finra on Tuesday. He did not respond to requests for comment.
Marshall, who is based in Plano, Texas, sold about $1.72 million of privately issued preferred stock in BioChemics to his branch manager, complex manager, other Ameriprise brokers and several customers from January 2011 to May 2012. He failed to provide written notice to Ameriprise of the sales, as required by Finra and Ameriprise rules, according to the settlement.
He also did not tell clients who bought shares that he was on BioChemics’ scientific advisory board and held warrants to buy its stock, according to the settlement statement.
The regulatory settlement is stronger than the one-month suspension that Ameriprise imposed last year on Marshall. The company also required him to attend “Ameriprise University” to brush up on compliance basics.
Finra last year suspended John Kolinofsky, Marshall’s branch manager and supervisory principal, for one month and fined him $20,000, . Kolinofsky failed to reasonably supervise Marshall, was aware of his unsanctioned affiliation with BioChemics and invested $10,000 in the firm’s private offering without notifying Ameriprise, Finra said.
Kolinofsky, whose highlights his “2015 Wealth Manager Award” from a third-party research firm called Five Star that promotes the award’s marketing potential, neither affirmed nor denied Finra’s charges and did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment. He and Marshall joined Ameriprise from Southwest Securities in early 2011.
In January, Finra imposed a 10-day suspension on Jacob Dunlap, the head of Ameriprise’s Central region, for supervisory lapses and for buying BioChemics shares.
“Dr. Marshall has accepted full responsibility for his actions,” he wrote in a Corrective Action Statement accompanying his settlement agreement. “When he first was advised in May 2011 that his activities on behalf of BioChemics had not been approved by Ameriprise, Dr. Marshall took immediate steps to come into compliance.”
In March, BioChemics paid $18 million as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for falsely telling investors that two of its drugs were under FDA review, among other misrepresentations.