According to his recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Todd Kimm, a former broker with Merrill Lynch, allegedly engaged in unsuitable short-term trading in a customer’s account with respect to closed-end funds and mutual funds. He also allegedly recommended over 100 unsuitable short-term trades of long-term investment products and eight unsuitable mutual fund switches in the same customer account. During the time period of July 2010 through July 2013, Kimm allegedly exercised discretion without written authorization in the same customer account. These are all against securities laws. For this misconduct, FINRA fined him $5,000 and suspended him from the industry for six months.
According to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, Mr. Kimm was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in Syracuse, New York from November 1996 until September 2014 and Commonwealth Financial Network in Syracuse from September 2014 until December 2017. He has two customer disputes against him that allege unsuitable investment recommendations, unauthorized trading, unsuitable variable annuity recommendations and sales and excessive trading. He is not currently registered as a broker. Excessive trading is also referred to as “churning,” and is when a broker trades in and out of securities daily, sometimes the same security. It is a particularly egregious misconduct because it typically results in large commissions for the broker, but unnecessary fees for the client. Merrill Lynch can be held liable in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis if it does not reasonably supervise its brokers like Todd Kimm.
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