April 17, 2014
In this digital age there are still folks who physically cut-and-paste. How quaint. Of course, quaint or not, when you start using the terms "cut-and-paste" "Individual Retirement Account" and "Letter of Authorization" in the same sentence, and that sentence is something written by a Wall Street regulator involving your conduct, well, you know, what can I say? You may just be asking for some old-fashioned regulatory justice.
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, Kaori Hagihara submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Kaori Hagihara, Respondent (AWC 2013036928801, April 8, 2014).
Hagihara entered the securities industry in 2006 and during the relevant time between January 2009 and May 2013, she was registered with FINRA member firm UBS Financial Services, Inc. The AWC asserts that Hagihara did not have any prior disciplinary history.
Sometime around April 27, 2009, Hagihara allegedly sent a Letter of Authorization ("LOA"), dated March 12, 2009, to another FINRA member firm, requesting the redemption of an alternative investment held by a customer of the other firm. Asserting that the LOA was out of date, the other firm rejected the redemption. In response to this rejection, Hagihara purportedly cut the customer's signature from the submitted LOA and pasted it onto a new LOA, dated May 1, 2009. Thereafter, on May 7, 2009, Hagihara submitted the doctored LOA to the other firm.
Beneficaries Of The Doubt
Separately, another UBS customer had multiple Individual Retirement Accounts ("IRA") and on September 20, 2012, Hagihara allegedly had the IRA's two beneficiaries sign an IRA Beneficiary Processing Form - but the two beneficiaries only signed for one of the customer's two IRAs. Thereafter, Hagihara copied the forms, changed the IRA account number, and submitted the document for the other IRA
Finally, on October 11, 2012, Hagihara allegedly had another customer sign an IRA Distribution Form for one of her UBS IRA accounts. Thereafter, Hagihara copied the original signature page from the form and attached the copied signature to a new IRA Distribution Form.
According to online FINRA documents as of April 16, 2014, UBS "Discharged" Hagihara on April 11, 2013, based upon allegations that:
MS. HAGIHARA'S EMPLOYMENT WAS TERMINATED ON THE BASIS OF MANAGEMENT'S LOSS OF CONFIDENCE IN HER ABILITY TO PERFORM THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF HER ROLE AFTER MULTIPLE VIOLATIONS OF THE FIRM'S POLICIES ON ALTERING OR ADDING INFORMATION TO SIGNED CLIENT DOCUMENTS.
As a result of the conduct described above, FINRA deemed that Hagihara had violated FINRA Rule 2010. In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA iposed upon Hagihara a $5,000 fine and a one-month suspension from association with any FINRA-registered firm in all capacities.