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Advisor Bryan Noonan Barred by FINRA for Alleged Selling Away

I often compare finance to a game of chess – it requires strategy, prediction, and ensuring that each move aligns with the rules of the game. Similarly, the financial markets operate on a framework of guidelines meant to protect individual investors from unscrupulous activities. However, every so often, we come across instances that serve as reminders of why these rules are indispensable. One such event is the allegations raised against Bryan Noonan, a Raymond James Financial Services advisor, who was recently barred by FINRA.

Case Information and Impact on Investors

Understanding the seriousness of the allegations against Noonan is crucial for market participants. According to public documents, from July 2006 to March 2024, Noonan was registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative across multiple firms. His last employment was with Raymond James Financial Services from 2021 to early 2024.

Raymond James filed a Form U5 – the Uniform Notice for Securities Industry Registration – in March 2024, reporting that Noonan had voluntarily terminated his association with them. The firm also indicated that an internal review was ongoing concerning potential violations of Raymond James’ guidelines regarding outside business activities and “selling away.”

Later, another Form U5 was filed stating upon review, it was found that Noonan and his clients had invested in an unapproved investment. This meant acting outside of Raymond James’ supervision, a practice known as “selling away,” which contravenes FINRA rules.

Broker Background and Complaints

Examining Noonan’s professional history, it appears he’s had a notable career in the securities industry. He’s been associated with respected brokerage firms such as Edward Jones and Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. The specifics of his tenure with each firm are detailed below:

– IA, 07/29/2021 – 03/07/2024, RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES ADVISORS, INC, Scottsdale, AZ
– B, 07/28/2021 – 03/07/2024, RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. Scottsdale, AZ
– IA, 10/17/2013 – 09/03/2020, EDWARD JONES, SCOTTSDALE, AZ

Despite this career spanning more than a decade, Noonan’s recent behavior has raised concerns. These concerns stem from allegations of him taking part in outside business activities without the prior consent and knowledge of his brokerage firm.

FINRA Rule and an Explanation in Simple Terms

In FINRA’s rulebook, “selling away” is essentially a no-go area. To put it in layman’s terms, it’s when brokers conduct securities transactions outside of their firm’s approval, thereby bypassing their firm’s management and compliance processes. It’s akin to playing chess and deciding to create your rules – a big no!

FINRA Rule 8210 requires registered representatives to provide information requested by FINRA promptly. Also, FINRA Rule 2010 mandates the application of high standards of commercial honor in the conduct of their business. By disregarding a request from FINRA for information and documents, Noonan violated both rules.

Consequences and Lessons Learned

It’s no secret that every investor’s worst fear is losing money. According to a report by Reuters, bad financial advice from advisors and brokers costs Americans about $17 billion every year.

But the ramifications of “selling away” go beyond immediate financial losses. It brings into play conflicts of interest, potential fraud, and unsuitable investment choices. It also violates FINRA regulations that require all securities transactions to be conducted and supervised by a firm to ensure investor protection.

For clients of Noonan, these practices may have exposed them to unforeseen risks, particularly as the firm may not be held responsible for unauthorized transactions. The take-home here is to always ensure your financial advisor is compliant with regulations – as Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

This case, once again, reaffirms that the world of finance is not just about numbers and strategies, but also about trust and transparency. It’s a gentle reminder to all of us to stay vigilant and proactive when it comes to our investments.

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