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Award Date: April 20, 2023
Respondent Firm: Edward Jones
Claimant Representative: Doc Kennedy, J.D., MBA, and Harris Freedman, J.D.
As he approached 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, this Houston-based advisor was blindsided by termination and a corresponding disclosure with allegations in 2021. Seeking to restore his perfect public BrokerCheck and CRD records, the advisor hired AdvisorLaw to try to have the disclosure expunged through FINRA Arbitration.
The advisor joined Edward Jones over two decades earlier, in 2000. He teamed up with his branch office administrator to service customer accounts. A customer, who was a widow with no children, had inherited the entire estate belonging to her sister. She heavily leaned on the advisory team for advice that spanned past that of a financial nature, to most issues in her life. The customer was then diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and she asked the advisory team to handle all of her assets. The advisory team repeatedly attempted to find an appropriate party to act as power of attorney for the customer, and their requests were repeatedly denied. They finally chose to move the customer’s investments to another firm, step down from any position of financial responsibility for the customer, and act as POA themselves. They did so after consulting with EJ’s compliance department.
The advisory team became co-executors of the customer’s estate with full knowledge of the firm in 2018. Then, in 2021, EJ’s field supervision department began looking into the situation and asked the advisory team to remove themselves from any fiduciary role whatsoever concerning the customer. The advisory team complied and began the process, all the while answering EJ’s questions with honesty and transparency.
Nonetheless, EJ terminated the advisory team in April of 2021, claiming that there were concerns about the advisors acting in a fiduciary capacity for an unrelated party. The advisory team then received termination disclosures “after allegations” on their records, stating that they had been discharged.
After considering the documents and pleadings filed by both the advisor and Edward Jones, the FINRA Arbitrator listened to the advisor’s testimony and the supporting arguments from Dochtor Kennedy, J.D., MBA, and Harris Freedman, J.D.
Deciding on the full and final resolution of the issues submitted, the Arbitrator recommended the expungement of the Reason for Termination and Termination Explanation in Section 3 of the advisor’s Form U5 filed by Edward Jones. She dictated that the Reason for Termination be changed to “Voluntary” and the Termination Explanation be deleted in its entirety and appear blank. The Arbitrator further recommended the expungement of all references to the occurrence and the accompanying internal review of the advisor’s records.
With the sole mark on his longstanding, spotless record expunged, this advisor may soon enjoy the benefits of perfectly clean BrokerCheck and CRD reports, once again.
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