Friday, August 23, 2013


James Harman McNeill, a former broker with Purchase, New York based Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he consented to the entry of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's (FINRA) findings that he exercised discretionary power in the accounts of his firm's customers without the customers' written authorization to place discretionary trades and without his firm's written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary. FINRA stated that Mr. McNeill entered orders for purchase transactions and falsely indicated that the transactions were unsolicited when in fact the trades were solicited. The transactions for the customers' accounts were purchases of a non-traditional exchange traded fund, which caused the firm's books and records to be inaccurate. Mr. McNeill, of McKinney, Texas, was fined $15,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for nine months. The fine must be paid either immediately upon Mr. McNeill's re-association with a FINRA member firm following his suspension, or prior to the filing of any application or request for relief from any statutory disqualification, whichever is earlier. Mr. McNeill's suspension is in effect from March 18, 2013 through December 17, 2013.

Broker-dealers must establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect customers from broker misconduct. If broker-dealers do not establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system, they may be liable to investors for damages flowing from the misconduct. As a result, investors who have suffered damages due to unauthorized trades can bring forth claims to recover losses against broker-dealers like Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which should have prevented the above described illegal activity. Have you suffered losses in your Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC account due to broker misconduct? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation.

The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! This Investors' Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 30 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors' rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website,, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.

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