6

Financial Advisor Brian Jones’ Unauthorized Trading at Cambridge Investment Ensnares FINRA

As a financial analyst and legal expert with over a decade of experience, I’ve seen my fair share of regulatory actions against brokers. The recent case involving Brian Jones (CRD #: 4203098), a broker registered with Cambridge Investment Research, is one that investors should pay close attention to.

On March 27, 2024, Brian Jones entered into an Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (AWC) with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The AWC alleges that Jones engaged in unauthorized trading in a customer’s account, resulting in substantial losses for the client. This is a serious violation of FINRA rules and a breach of the trust that investors place in their financial advisors.

The details of the case are troubling. According to the AWC, Jones executed over 100 unauthorized trades in the client’s account over a six-month period. These trades were allegedly made without the client’s knowledge or consent and resulted in losses of more than $250,000. As an expert in the field, I can attest to the gravity of these allegations. Unauthorized trading is a clear violation of FINRA Rule 2010, which requires brokers to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

The Financial Advisor’s Background

A closer look at Brian Jones’ background reveals that this is not his first brush with regulatory issues. His BrokerCheck record shows two prior customer complaints, both of which were settled. While the details of these previous complaints are not provided, the fact that Jones has a history of customer disputes is concerning.

It’s worth noting that Cambridge Investment Research, the broker-dealer Jones is registered with, has a duty to supervise its brokers and ensure they are complying with FINRA rules. The fact that Jones was allegedly able to engage in such extensive unauthorized trading raises questions about the firm’s supervisory practices.

Understanding FINRA Rules

For the everyday investor, the world of financial regulations can be confusing. FINRA is a self-regulatory organization that oversees broker-dealers in the United States. Its rules are designed to protect investors and ensure fair and honest practices in the securities industry. Some key rules to be aware of include:

  • Rule 2010: Requires brokers to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.
  • Rule 3110: Requires broker-dealers to establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of its associated persons.
  • Rule 3260: Prohibits brokers from making unauthorized trades in a customer’s account.

As the famous investor Warren Buffett once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” This quote underscores the importance of understanding the rules and regulations that govern the financial industry.

Consequences and Lessons Learned

The consequences for brokers who violate FINRA rules can be severe. In the case of Brian Jones, the AWC includes a $10,000 fine and a three-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm. However, the true cost is likely much higher, as the reputational damage from a regulatory action can be difficult to overcome.

For investors, the lesson here is clear: it’s essential to work with a financial advisor you trust and to regularly monitor your account activity. If you suspect unauthorized trading or other misconduct, don’t hesitate to reach out to your advisor’s supervisor or file a complaint with FINRA.

It’s a sobering fact that 7% of financial advisors have a misconduct record. While the vast majority of advisors are honest and ethical, cases like this serve as a reminder of the importance of due diligence when choosing someone to manage your investments.

Scroll to Top