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Gwendolyn M. Berry, an employee with Next Financial Group, Inc., was permanently barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm in any capacity after consenting to findings that she failed to cooperate with a FINRA investigation into allegations that she misappropriated customer assets. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2015047059701 (Apr. 12, 2016).
According to the AWC, Berry was responsible for assisting a Next Financial Group, Inc. stockbroker with bookkeeping and other administrative matters pertaining to client accounts. The AWC stated that Berry was terminated in October, 2015.
Shortly after her termination, FINRA sent Berry a request, per Rule 8210, that she provide information and documentation by November 10, 2015, pertaining to FINRA’s investigation into allegations that she potentially mismanaged and misappropriated her firm’s customers’ assets. Berry was instructed by FINRA that she could face sanctions, including a bar if she did not cooperate in the investigation.
The AWC stated that on October 29, 2015, FINRA received word from Berry’s counsel that Berry acknowledged FINRA’s request, but would not be providing the requested information, or otherwise responding. The AWC indicated that Berry’s counsel was provided with additional requests from FINRA for Berry to respond and provide FINRA with the information and documentation.
Berry’s counsel apparently informed FINRA on February 29, 2016, that Berry would not be cooperating with such requests, both of which called for Berry to provide FINRA with the requested information by March 1, 2016. The AWC stated that Berry never provided such documents pursuant to FINRA’s requests. Consequently, Berry was found by FINRA to have violated FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210, leading to her permanent bar.

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