Settling Away

Eric Nichols of Rolling Hills California a stockbroker formerly employed by Morgan Stanley has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that Nichols resolved a customer’s investment related dispute outside the firm’s auspices. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2019061700301 (July 29, 2019).

According to the AWC, between August of 2016 and September of 2016, during the time Nichols was associated with Morgan Stanley, Nichols advised a firm customer, JG, to purchase preferred stock. Evidently, in July of 2018, dividend payments had been suspended by the issuer of that preferred stock investment. The AWC stated that the suspension of dividends led the customer to sustain substantial investment losses.

In August of 2018, Nichols apparently received a complaint from JG, concerning the losses incurred from the investment Nichols advised the customer to purchase. Consequently, JG received two checks from Nichols totaling $28,000.00 to settle the complaint. Evidently, Nichols neglected to apprise Morgan Stanley about his payments to the customer. Consequently, FINRA found Nichols’ conduct violative of FINRA Rule 2010.

FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Nichols is referenced in three customer initiated investment related disputes that concern allegations of his misconduct when he was employed by Morgan Stanley. Specifically, on February 8, 2017, a customer filed an investment related complaint concerning Nichols’ activities where the customer sought $60,924.88 in damages founded on accusations that unauthorized unit investment trust and stock trades were effected in the customer’s account during the time Nichols had been associated with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

On September 5, 2017, a customer initiated investment related complaint in regard to Nichols’ activities was settled for $95,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that between June of 2015 and February of 2017, the customer was placed into over-the-counter equities that failed to be suitable for the customer. Moreover, a customer filed an investment related arbitration claim concerning Nichols’ conduct in which the customer requested unspecified damages supported by accusations that between August of 2016 and September of 2018, the customer had been sold bad real estate investment trusts. FINRA Arbitration No. 19-00357 (Jan. 30, 2019).

Nichols was discharged by Morgan Stanley on February 13, 2019 founded on allegations that he executed unauthorized trades in the accounts of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney customers.

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Guiliano Law Group, P.C.

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