January 15, 2015
In the movies, they throw tacks on the highway in order to slow down the pursuing bad guys. On Wall Street, well, you know, there's this similar thing where stockbrokers, how should I put this, sometimes they inadvertently transpose customers' telephone numbers before saving them to their firm's official computer database, and, well, geez, if you were, you know, to leave your current firm and join a new one, well, hmmmm, imagine what might happen if, for example, just sayin', your old firm diced and sliced your book of business and gave out your accounts to your former colleagues, who, omigod, they telephoned the numbers stored in the firm's customer database and each and every one was wrong. Tough to trash your good name and steal your customers if you can't get through on the phone . . . inadvertently, of course.
Case In Point
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, Denis Michael O'Brien submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of Denis Michael O'Brien, Respondent (AWC #2013038960801, January 8, 2015).
In 1986, O'Brien became registered, by 2004 he was associated with FINRA member firm Morgan Stanley, where he remained until his October 2013 resignation. The AWC asserts that O'Brien did not have any prior relevant disciplinary history.
Jenny, Don't Change Your Number
In October 2013, while registered with Morgan Stanley, O'Brien allegedly altered on the firm's computer system about 206 telephone numbers for 156 of his clients.
Rikki Don't Lose That Number
On October 25, 2013, O'Brien resigned from Morgan Stanley and, in response, the firm assigned his former clients to four financial advisors. When those advisors attempted to contact O'Brien's clients, the advisors discovered the telephone numbers on the computer system were inaccurate.
SIDE BAR: Although not disclosed in the AWC, online FINRA BrokerCheck records as of January 13, 2015, indicate that O'Brien joined Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. after resigning from Morgan Stanley.
According to FINRA BrokerCheck records as of January 13, 2014, on November 15, 2013, Raymond James "Discharged" based upon allegations that:
FA WAS TERMINATED DUE TO HIS CHANGING CLIENT TELEPHONE NUMBERS AT THIS PRIOR BROKER DEALER PRIOR TO HIS AFFILIATION WITH RAYMOND JAMES.
For A Good Time Call
The AWC asserts that O'Brien's conduct caused inaccuracies in his former firm's books and records in violation of Section 17(a) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 17a-3 thereunder; and, accordingly, constituted violations of FINRA Rules 2010 and 4511(a).
In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA imposed upon O'Brien a $5,000 fine and a 45-calendar day suspension from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.