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Compliance Concepts

Financialish ‘Hall of Shame’ - Broker-Dealer Induction Ceremony

May 30, 2017

By Howard Haykin


Today, introduces its “HALL OF SHAME,” featuring broker-dealers that we believe were complicit in the abuse of elderly customers.


A broker-dealer is eligible for election to the Financial Hall of Fame if it satisfies the following criteria:

  • One or more of the firm’s registered representatives were named in a settled compliant that appeared in a FINRA Monthly Disciplinary Actions report.
  • The complaint(s) involved one or more elderly customers of the firm.
  • Such customer(s) suffered significant financial losses.
  • The financial abuse was carried out over a relatively prolonged period.
  • The firm failed to take timely action so as to prevent or deter the financial abuse - even though firm principals were aware, or should have been aware, of the financial abuses, given that typical or basic supervisory reviews would have raised numerous ‘red flags’.
  • The firm escaped FINRA sanctions for its so-called ‘complicity’.


In making its determinations, Financialish took into consideration relevant settlement documentation – ‘Orders Accepting Offer of Settlement’ or ‘Letters of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent’ (AWCs) – as well as applicable FINRA BrokerCheck records.  




K.C. WARD FINANCIAL.    Registered rep Broker Craig Dima was charged with unauthorized and unsuitable trades, including the numerous sales and buybacks of the customer’s long-term holdings in Colgate-Palmolive stock.


BAY MUTUAL FINANCIAL.     Registered rep Christopher Ariola was charged with unsuitable recommendations, loading up customer accounts with high risk gold and energy stocks.


CAMBRIDGE INVESTMENT RESEARCH.    Registered rep Curtis Randle El was charged with unsuitable recommendations from February through September 2014, effecting short-term trades in Class A mutual fund shares and Unit Investment Trusts (UITs).


WELLS FARGO ADVISORS.    Registered rep Matthew Maczko, was charged with excessive trading in customer accounts from 2009 to 2016.


FINANCIAL WEST GROUP.    Registered rep Kelly Althar was charges with high volume trading in customer accounts from 2011 to 2014.


STIFEL, NICOLAUS.    Registered rep Harold Pomeranz was charged with unsuitable short-term trading of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs).