Blake P. King, of Atlanta, Georgia, a stockbroker formerly registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., has been fined and suspended from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that King obstructed a FINRA investigation into allegations that he effected unauthorized trades in firm customers’ accounts. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2017053237501 (Jun. 13, 2017).

According to the AWC, FINRA was notified by Merrill Lynch that King’s registration was terminated during the point he was investigated and ultimately alleged by the firm to have effected trades on a discretionary basis in customer accounts without having been authorized by the customers or the firm.

The AWC revealed that FINRA pursued an investigation into King’s alleged misconduct by sending a letter to him on April 14, 2017, according to Rule 8210, which called upon King to disclose information and documentation regarding his activities. Apparently, FINRA’s request was obtained by King; however, King then notified FINRA staff that he would at no point provide cooperation in the investigation into his alleged misconduct. Consequently, the information and documentation was never provided to FINRA. FINRA found that King’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rule 2010 and 8210.

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