August 2, 2023 – An AWC was issued in which Nia was assessed a deferred fine of $5,000, suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for one year and ordered to pay deferred disgorgement of a portion of the commissions received in the amount of $150,000. In light of Nia’s financial status, the sanctions do not include full disgorgement or interest. Without admitting or denying the findings, Nia consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that she effected unauthorized transactions in a community bank’s account, which was a customer of her member firm, without obtaining instructions from any person authorized to conduct trading for the bank.
The findings stated that Nia accepted orders for the bank’s trading from a firm registered representative who was an advisory board member for the bank but not authorized to place orders for the bank and also permitted the representative to place orders for the bank. The trading effected by Nia, based upon instructions from the other representative, caused the bank to take excessive risk. The trading for the bank generated approximately $1 million in commissions for Nia, more than $370,000 of which she transmitted to the other representative through a series of separate business and financial transactions. Because the firm lacked its own fixed-income trading desk, it was frequently required to use a “broker’s broker” to acquire fixed income securities for the bank, which resulted in it paying approximately $1.25 million in markups to the broker’s broker, in addition to commissions to the firm. As a result of this trading, the bank also spent more than $600,000 to remediate the risk of its investment portfolio.
The suspension is in effect from August 7, 2023, through August 6, 2024. (FINRA Case #2020065297002)