January 26, 2015 10:44 PM ET

Diversified Financial Services

Company Overview of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.

Company Overview

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) is a trade association that provides regulatory, consulting, and advisory services focusing on financial services and securities brokerage companies. The organization offers registration, dispute resolution, federal securities law enforcement, market surveillance and analysis, and regulatory policy formulation and implementation services. FINRA, formerly known as National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc., was founded in 1938 and is headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia.

1735 K Street

Washington, DC 20006

United States

Founded in 1938

Phone:

202-728-8000

Fax:

202-293-6260

Key Executives for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.

Executive Chairman of Board of Governors and Chief Executive Officer
Age: 63
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Senior Vice President and Regional Director of New York Region
President of Dispute Resolution
Executive Vice President and Director of Dispute Resolution
Compensation as of Fiscal Year 2014.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Key Developments

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Hearing Panel Bans John Carris Investments and Bars CEO George Carris for Fraud

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) reported that a FINRA hearing panel has expelled John Carris Investments (JCI) and barred CEO George Carris from the securities industry for fraud and suitability violations. The panel found that JCI and George Carris recklessly sold shares of stock and promissory notes issued by JCI's parent company using misleading statements and by omitting material facts. Andrey Tkatchenko, a registered representative, was suspended for two years and fined $10,000 for recommending the stock and promissory notes without a reasonable basis. JCI and Carris were also expelled and barred for manipulating the price of Fibrocell stock. The panel found that JCI and Carris manipulated the price of Fibrocell stock through unfunded purchases of large blocks of the stock and pre-arranged trading accomplished through reported matched limit orders. Head Trader Jason Barter was suspended for 18 months, fined $5,000 and must re-qualify to enter the securities industry for his role in the manipulation of the Fibrocell stock. The ruling resolves charges brought by FINRA's Department of Enforcement in September 2013. The panel found that JCI and Carris fraudulently sold stock and notes in its parent company by not disclosing its poor financial condition. According to the decision, the firm and Carris omitted material facts in the Offering documents, including omissions in the Bridge Offering documents that JCI was out of net capital compliance. JCI should have ceased operating when it was out of net capital compliance, but instead it continued to sell Bridge Offering notes to investors and used the proceeds from sales of the Offerings to cure its net cap deficiency. Carris failed to inform investors that proceeds would be used to cure JCI's net cap deficiencies. He also omitted other material information from the Offering documents regarding how proceeds would be used. For instance, Carris used proceeds from the sales of the Offerings to pay for personal expenses such as purchases at liquor stores, clothing stores and dry cleaning. Carris also failed to remit hundreds of thousands of dollars in employee payroll taxes to the United States Treasury; although during the same time period, he paid dividends to investors in the Offerings. The panel noted in its decision that it did not find Carris credible. For example, when confronted about emails pertaining to employee payroll taxes, Carris asserted he never received or read his emails, claiming that a friend set up a personal email account for him so that Carris could "get on the PlayStation and also some other games that I was playing at the time," when in fact Carris used an iPhone to send emails. In addition to the violations stated above, the panel found that JCI and George Carris kept inaccurate books and records, failed to remit payroll taxes for employees, maintained insufficient net capital, failed to implement its anti-money laundering policies and procedures, and failed establish and enforce a reasonable supervisory system. The panel dismissed charges against Randy Hechler, the firm's Chief Compliance Officer, related to supervisory violations that occurred during a time period unrelated to the above violations. Unless the hearing panel's decision is appealed to FINRA's National Adjudicatory Council (NAC), or is called for review by the NAC, the hearing panel's decision becomes final after 45 days.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Fines Pershing LLC $3 Million for Customer Protection Rule Violations and Supervisory Failures

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it has censured and fined Pershing LLC $3 million for violating the Customer Protection Rule and for related supervisory failures. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule creates requirements to protect customers' funds and securities from broker-dealer misuse and requires that assets be available for distribution in the event of the broker-dealer's insolvency. FINRA found that from November 2010 to August 2011, Pershing failed to maintain adequate reserves to meet its reserve deposit requirements with reserve deficiencies ranging from approximately $4 million to $220 million. From July 2010 through September 2011, Pershing also failed to promptly obtain and later maintain physical possession or control of certain customers' fully paid and excess margin securities. During that period, the firm’s failures caused 47 new possession or control deficits, and an increase in a significant number of existing possession or control deficits. These failures exposed customer funds and securities to risk. In addition, Pershing’s supervisory systems and procedures were inadequate and the firm failed to implement a system to review and approve procedural changes with material impact to the requirements of the Customer Protection Rule. Those deficiencies resulted in inaccuracies in the firm’s FOCUS reports between July 30, 2010 and Aug. 31, 2011.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Signs Regulatory Services Agreement with CBOE Holdings, Inc. and C2 Options Exchange

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it has signed an agreement with the Chicago Board Options Exchange(TM) (CBOE(TM)) and C2 Options Exchange (C2) to provide market surveillance, financial surveillance, examinations, investigations, and disciplinary services to CBOE and C2, in addition to other regulatory services. Additionally, FINRA will be taking over responsibility for the Options Regulatory Surveillance Authority (ORSA) industry options insider trading program, a change which was recently approved by the ORSA participants that represent all 12 options markets.

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