Category Archives: FIrst Financial Equity

Melissa Strouse of First Financial Equity Corporation Sanctioned by FINRA for Inadequate Supervisory Procedures

UPDATE March 2017Melissa A. Strouse, CCO of First Financial Equity Corp., has consented, without admitting or denying the allegations made by FINRA, to the entry of certain findings and violations consistent with the Complaint filed by FINRA in July 2016(see below).

Those findings and conclusions include:

  • First Financial Equity Corp had numerous supervisory deficiencies, including failing to establish written supervisory procedures (WSPs) to address portions of its business, failing to have adequate WSPs, and failing to enforce certain of the WSPs it did have.
  • WSPs that were not enforced included procedures pertaining to discretionary accounts, excessive trading/churning reviews, and the requirement that the firm’s WSPs detail its actual processes and procedures.

Strouse was suspended for ten calendar days and fined $10,000.

ORIGINAL POSTING-July 2016

The FINRA records of Melissa A. Strouse  , a  stockbroker who was  employed by  First Financial Equity Corporation  disclose a pending regulatory event.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In July 2016, FINRA filed a complaint naming Strouse, chief compliance officer,  and her member firm First Financial Equity Corporation alleging that the written supervisory procedures did not reflect the firm’s actual processes and procedures with respect to the review and or supervision of customer accounts. The FINRA complaint alleges numerous inadequacies with the firm’s supervisory procedures for the period January 2010-June 2013, including Strouse’s failure to review customer accounts for churning and excessive trading. FINRA Case 2013034966701.

First Financial Equity Corporation is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has been a FINRA member since 1985 and has about 168 brokers in 14 branch offices and 59 non-registered office locations nationwide.

Investors who have suffered losses in an account at First Financial Equity Corporation  may be entitled to recover damages  through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Brooke A. Clements Discloses Discharge From Merrill Lynch

Greenwood Village, Colorado

According to FINRA records, Brooke A. Clements a broker who has been  registered  with FIrst Financial Equity Corp, since  7/2015 , discloses that he was discharged from Merrill Lynch in 5/2015.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Prior to joining First Financial Equity Corp. , Clements was registered with Merrill Lynch since 3/2007. In connection with his discharge  from Merrill Lynch in 5/2015, Merrill made the following allegations:

“allegations relating to providing user identification and password to another employee and exercising time and price discretion in non-discretionary accounts”

If you have losses in an account handled by Brooke A. Clements   you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Mark C. Quale-Discharged by First Financial Equity Corp.

Scottsdale, AZ

According to FINRA records, Mark C. Quale a broker who began working for First Financial Equity Corp. in 12/2005 discloses that he was discharged by First Financial Equity in March 2016. He also discloses 4 prior customer disputes that are final.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In connection with his discharge  from First Financial Equity  in 3/2016, the company made the following allegations:

“Falsifying Client Signatures. Please see internal review disclosure for more detailed information”

In NASD Case 3-8708, a customer while Quale was employed by Merrill Lynch file an arbitration alleging unsuitable investments and failure to diversify. That case was settled for $550,000.

If you have losses in an account handled by Mark C. Quale   you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Kirk J. Gill-Former Morgan Stanley Broker-Discloses Numerous Customer Complaints-Tucson, AZ

UPDATE March 2017- FINRA records disclose that additional customer disputes against Kirk Gill have been made since our prior posting. There are now 6 pending and 7 final customer disputes naming Gill.

In February 2017 in FINRA case 17-0335 a customer of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney alleges damages of $500,000 for unsuitable investments made from 2010-2016.

In July in FINRA case 16-2230 a  customer of Morgan Stanley alleges damages of $500,000 for unsuitable investments from August 2011-November 2015.

In June 2016 in FINRA case #16-01758 a customer of Morgan Stanley alleged that from 2010 to March 2016, Gill over concentrated her investments in high risk and unsuitable equities. No damages are specified.

FINRA Case 15-0674 filed by a customer of Morgan Stanley alleges damages of $450,000  for making unsuitable recommendations for the customer’s account from October 2011 to November 2014.

May 2016–Tucson, AZ

According to FINRA records, Kirk J. Gill  a broker who has been  registered  with First Financial  Equity , since  3/2016  , discloses a pending customer dispute and 5 prior customer disputes that are final.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Prior to joining First Financial Equity Corp. , Gill  was registered with Morgan Stanley  from 6/2009- 4/2016.

In pending FINRA Case 15-1538 a customer while Gill was employed by Morgan Stanley is seeking damages of $300,000 for unsuitable recommendations from 2007-2014.

If you have losses in an account handled by Kirk J. Gill  you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

John J. Avey Discloses Termination from BOSC, Inc.

Greenwood Village, Colorado

According to FINRA records, John J. Avey a broker who has been  registered  with First Financial Equity , since  1/2016  , discloses a termination and 2 prior customer disputes that are final.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Prior to joining First Financial Equity Corp. , Avey  was registered with BOSC from 5/2004-1/2016. In connection with his discharge  from BOSC in 1/2016, BOSC made the following allegations:

“when asked, representative admitted to knowingly submitting forms for processing with a signature for (name of customer redacted) which were not in fact signed by (name of customer redacted)”

If you have losses in an account handled by John J. Avey   you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Joseph I. Yanofsky-former Merrill Lynch Broker-Discloses Termination and $400k Customer Claim

Greenwood Village, Colorado

According to FINRA records, Joseph I. Yanofsky a broker who has been  registered  with FIrst Financial Equity Corp, since  6/2015 , discloses a pending customer dispute, a termination and 7 prior customer disputes that are final.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

Prior to joining First Financial Equity Corp. , Yanofsky was registered with Merrill Lynch from 2/1990-5/2015. In connection with his discharge  from Merrill Lynch in 5/2015, Merrill made the following allegations:

“allegations relating to exercising discretion in non-discretionary accounts, providing inaccurate responses to related internal compliance questionnaires, directing an employee to enter trades utilizing another employee’s user identification and password and failing to report a customer complaint on a timely basis”

In pending FINRA Case 15-2143, a Merrill Lynch customer alleges unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentations from 2012 to 2015 and seeks damages of $400,000.

If you have losses in an account handled by Joseph I. Yanofsky   you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870

Randy G. Merrill-First Financial Equity Broker-Settles Customer Arbitration Matter

Dallas, Texas

According to FINRA records, Randy G. Merrill  a broker who has been  registered  with FIrst Financial Equity Corp, since  7/2009 , discloses a recently resolved customer dispute

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the agency that licenses and regulates stockbrokers and brokerage firms. FINRA requires brokers and brokerage firms to report customer complaints and disputes as well as regulatory sanctions. In addition brokers are required to disclose certain financial matters such as personal bankruptcies, judgments and liens.

In FINRA Case 15-2722 a customer alleged damages of $150,000 for unsuitable investments and negligent supervision.  That case was settled in November 2015 for $22,500.

If you have losses in an account handled by Randy G. Merrill   you may be able to recover damages through FINRA arbitration.

Rex Securities Law , with offices in Boca Raton, FL,  and  Austin, TX,   provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney.

Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Nationwide Representation

Rex Securities Law

TollFree: 877-224-3199

Florida-561 391 1900 

Texas-512-329-2870