The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently suspended Mr. Cox from associating with any broker-dealer for three months due to his conduct at Sterne Agee.
According to the settlement document Mr. Cox signed, he recommended that his clients invest in leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs), although Sterne Agee did not permit its financial advisors to recommend such risky investments.
Mr. Cox broke this rule 966 times, in at least 26 separate accounts.
How did Mr. Cox do it? He covered his tracks by marking trade confirmations for these trades as unsolicited, when, at least in FINRA’s view, they were solicited.
Leveraged and inverse ETFs are very risky, speculative investments. In many ways, they are similar to options—used to speculate on the direction of short-term market swings. It is unknown at this time whether these trades, in addition to being improper, were also unprofitable.
While FINRA has suspended Mr. Cox from association with any brokerage firm (and fined him for $10,000), FINRA does not have jurisdiction over investment advisory firms. Mr. Cox apparently continues to work for investors through his own investment advisory firm, Bluestone Wealth Planning.
Investor Defense Law LLP is a law firm dedicated to helping investors in California, Georgia, and Washington State recover losses caused by stockbrokers, financial advisors, and investment firms. To learn more, contact an investment fraud attorney at 800.487.4660.