The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently announced Michael Patrick Spolar (Spolar) entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent without admitting or denying the allegations against him. The settlement concerns allegations Spolar exercised discretion in his one of his customer’s accounts without written authorization. As a result, Spolar was suspended from the financial industry for thirty (30) business days.
Spolar (FINRA CRD No. 2192992) is an associated person registered with FINRA since 1991. Over the course of the last 25+ years, Spolar worked for several firms, including Citigroup Global Markets Inc.; Morgan Stanley; and LPL Financial LLC. From 2015 to 2017, Spolar worked for International Assets Advisory, LLC (“IAA”). Spolar’s FINRA BrokerCheck Report discloses 15 negative events, including numerous customer complaints.
FINRA’s Department of Enforcement investigated Spolar’s alleged misconduct and found he exercised discretion and unauthorized trades in one of his customer accounts from 2015 to 2016. According to FINRA, Spolar’s customers neither provided written authorization for his discretionary trading, and nor did IAA approve the accounts for discretionary trading. FINRA found Spolar issued the customer personal payments in an effort to reimburse the investor for losses incurred as a result of the unauthorized activity.
Based upon the foregoing misconduct, FINRA alleged Spolar violated NASD Rule 2510(b), as well as FINRA Rule 2010. For example, NASD Rule 2510 prohibits a registered representative from exercising any discretionary authority in a customer’s account unless such customer has provided prior written authorization and the account has been accepted by a FINRA member. In cases where a financial advisor executes unauthorized trades without proper authorization, the financial advisor and brokerage firm may be found liable for investment damage, as well as disciplined by securities regulators such as the case here.
Lufrano Law, LLC is a national investment litigation firm and has experience representing investors who have investment disputes with brokers and broker-dealers. Please contact us at (800) 627-2179 for more information if you have been the victim of investment negligence or fraud.