October 7, 2013
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Come join with me as we take a stroll down one such path built by two sisters and one stockbroker. How did the stockbroker's career wind up in the ditch on the side of the road? For starters, there was this roadwork involving a change-of-address request and an unseen detour.
For the purpose of proposing a settlement of rule violations alleged by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), without admitting or denying the findings, prior to a regulatory hearing, and without an adjudication of any issue, Jeffrey Brian Mackevich submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Jeffrey Brian Mackevich, Respondent (AWC 2011029152101, September 24, 2013).
Mackevich has been in the industry since 1981 and from 1997 until August 2011, he was registered with Mesirow Financial, Inc. ("Mesirow"). The AWC asserts that Mackevich had no prior relevant disciplinary history.
Addressing A Problem
Mackevich had a customer whose sister was assisting her with financial matters. In furtherance of facilitating that aid, duplicate account statements were sent to the sister's address. Following the relocation of the sister, both the customer and the sister requested that the duplicate statements no longer be sent to the sister's former address.
SIDE BAR: As best that I can tell, it seems that there was some internal processing snag that failed to process the customer's request to stop sending the dupes to the sister's former address. Whether that was the fault of Mackevich, some assistant, or just a bit of back-office sloppiness is unclear. Be that as it may, I suspect that the persistent mail to the wrong address became a frustrating issue for the stockbroker, his customer, and her sister.
Following several request during the ensuing year for the cessation of mailings to the former address, and after yet another request from the sister to turn off the damn spigot of unwanted mail, allegedly Mackevich signed his customer's signature to a Letter of Authority ('LOA") to effectuate that request on August 24, 2011.
Falling Down The Slippery Slope
How or what alerted Mesirow to Mackevich's signing of his customer's name to the LOA is not disclosed in the AWC, but upon being questioned by his firm, Mackevich denied the allegation.
According to online FINRA records as of October 7, 2013, Mesirow discharged Mackevich on August 25, 2011, pursuant to allegations by the firm that Mackevich:
[C]ONFIRMED THAT HE ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY FOR A FALSIFIED CLIENT SIGNATURE.
In the"SUMMARY" field of the online record, it is further asserted that:
THE REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE WAS TERMINATED ON THURSDAY MORNING, AUGUST 25, 2011, WHEN HE CONFIRMED THAT HE ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY FOR A FALSIFIED SIGNATURE ON A CHANGE OF ADDRESS LETTER PREPARED AND SUBMITTED THE PRECEDING DAY WITHOUT THE CLIENT'S CONSENT
In responding to Mesirow's discharge explanation, Mackevich's asserted under his version of the "ALLEGATIONS":
THE REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE WAS TERMINATED WHEN HE CONFIRMED THAT HE ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY FOR FALSIFIED SIGNATURE ON A CHANGE OF ADDRESS LETTER PREPARED & SUBMITTED THE PRECEDING DAY WITHOUT THE CLIENT'S CONSENT. THE FIRM'S SUPERVISOR IDENTIFIED THE IMPROPER DOCUMENT PRIOR TO THE REQUEST BEING PROCESSED. WHEN THE REGISTERED REP WAS INFORMED THAT HE WAS TERMINATED, HE TENDERED A LETTER OF RESIGNATION, AS STATED ON THE U-5 FORM FROM MESIROW.
Additionally, Mackevich offered this explanation under "SUMMARY":
THE U5 FORM IS INACCURATE AND MISLEADING. MACKEVICH DIDN'T FALSIFY ANY DOCUMENT. HE DID NOT SIGN A CLIENT'S NAME TO A CHANGE OF ADDRESS LETTER AND HE TENDERED A LETTER OF RESIGNATION ON AUGUST 25, 2011 WHEN HE REALIZED MESIROW INTENDED TO TERMINATE HIM FOR AN ACTION HE DID NOT TAKE.
During FINRA's investigation of this incident, Mackevich responded to two of the regulator's Rule 8210 information requests with denials of his signing on the LOA but eventually he admitted to the act and that he had previously lied to both FINRA and his former firm. Deeming his conduct to constitute violations of FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010, in accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Mackevich a $25,000 fine and a 7-month suspension from association with any FINRA-registered firm in any capacity.