Refusal to Testify Before Finra Over Securities Allegations Lead to Industry Bars for Former Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, and JP Morgan Brokers

The Financial Industry Regulatory has barred a broker who worked at Merrill Lynch for almost half a century from the securities industry. Louise J. Neale left the broker-dealer and voluntarily ended her registration with the firm last year during an internal probe about her supervisory performance involving fund transactions. She later refused to testify about her resignation before FINRA. This is a violation of the self-regulatory organization’s rules and was immediate grounds for the industry bar. Although Neale worked at Merrill since 1968, it wasn’t until 2003 that she became a registered representative and later a supervisor.

In an unrelated case, FINRA barred another ex-broker for violating firm policies after he, too, refused to testify about the allegations in front of the SRO. John Simpson worked at RBC Capital Markets from 3/2009 to 2/2016. He was let go by the firm for violating its policies about discretion related to client accounts.

Meantime, FINRA has barred two ex-JP Morgan (JPM) brokers. One of the brokers, Brian Alexander Torres, had only been in the securities industry for two months when he was fired by the broker-dealer. Torres admitted that he misappropriated funds from the firm’s affiliate bank. Finra asked Torres for information and documents, but he would not provide them nor would he testify.

The other ex-JPMorgan broker who was recently been barred from the industry is Whitley Kiara Hood. She refused to cooperate with a probe into allegations that she misappropriated money from a JP Morgan Securities affiliate bank. She was voluntarily fired from the firm in April. Hood also refused to testify about the allegations, which is what led to the automatic bar. She did, however, agree to a settlement with Finra without admitting or denying the regulator’s charges.

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Financial Industry Regulatory Authority 
Rules and Guidance, FINRA