FINRA Complaint: Florida Financial Advisor Falsified Data
Vincent Joseph Storms (CRD No. 4969537) is a former registered broker and investment advisor. From November of 2015 to April of 2017, Mr. Storms was employed at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, Florida. After that, he joined Ameriprise Financial Services in Tampa. Notably, during his time at Raymond James & Associates, he worked as a compliance associate and was responsible for auditing the broker-dealer’s branch offices.
On January 31st, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against former Raymond James financial advisor Vincent J. Storms. The agency alleges that he falsified data on the firm’s audit records. In this article, our experienced Miami, FL investment fraud attorneys review the allegations against Mr. Storms. To see the full complaint from FINRA, please refer to Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2017053982801.
The Allegations: Former Raymond James Employee Falsified Audit Records
In accordance with securities industry regulations, Raymond James & Associates conducts audits of its branch offices. Among other things, these internal reviews require brokers to disclose information pertaining to their outside business activities. Under FINRA rules, registered financial advisors must report their outside business activities to their member firm.
As noted in the FINRA complaint against Vincent Joseph Storms, Raymond James uses a questionnaire to get initial information from its branch offices and its financial advisors. Based on the results of the questionnaire, a report is generated. Using this report, Raymond James determines whether or not any follow-up review of a financial advisor’s possible outside business activities is necessary.
Between March of 2016 and November of 2016, FINRA alleges that Mr. Storms manually altered a master spreadsheet that contained the relevant answers related to the outside business activities of the firm’s financial advisors. The agency believes that he did so to avoid doing the follow-up compliance work that would have been required. He modified the report in a manner that made follow-up unnecessary. As such, it appears that the potential outside business activities of many Raymond James financial advisors was never properly assessed by the brokerage firm.
Proposed Sanctions: Vincent Joseph Storms
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Department of Enforcement is asking the Office of Hearing Officers to make conclusions of facts and law in regards to the allegations of misconduct that have been raised against former broker Vincent Joseph Storms. In addition to this, the agency is seeking the imposition of all sanctions deemed suitable under securities industry regulations. This could potentially include monetary penalties and suspension from the securities industry.
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