Sign of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Stephen Leroy Whittaker of Surprise Arizona a stockbroker formerly registered with First Financial Equity Corporation has been fined $5,000.00 and suspended for three months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon findings that he engaged in outside business activities. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2019062207301 (Oct. 7, 2020).

According to the AWC, between March of 2018 and March 2019, Whittaker took part in an outside business activity. Whittaker’s services included tax preparation for customers of First Financial Equity Corporation during the time that he was associated with the securities broker dealer. Whittaker was required under the policies of the securities broker dealer to first get approval prior to engaging in outside business activities.

The AWC stated that the services provided by Whittaker were not made known to the securities broker dealer in compliance with its policy. FINRA also stated that Whittaker failed to make disclosures of his outside business activity upon his submission of an annual compliance questionnaire to the securities broker dealer in 2018. Whittaker’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 3270.

Whittaker has been identified in customer initiated investment related disputes concerning accusations of his misconduct while he was employed by First Financial Equity Corporation and Morgan Stanley. FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that a customer filed an investment related complaint involving Whittaker’s activities where the customer requested $10,500.00 in damages supported by allegations that the Morgan Stanley customer was not informed of the tax consequences relating to an annuity replacement.

Whittaker is referenced in another customer initiated investment related written complaint which was resolved for $40,110.00 on June 20, 2019 founded on accusations that transactions executed in the customer’s account were unsuitable. According to the complaint, unauthorized real estate security transactions were effected in the customer’s account during the period that Whittaker was associated with First Financial Equity Corporation.

Whittaker has also been terminated from two securities broker dealers for misconduct. He was terminated by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney based upon allegations that he corresponded with unauthorized parties regarding customers’ accounts at the securities broker dealer. Whittaker allegedly took part in outside business activities according to Morgan Stanley. Whittaker was discharged by First Financial Equity Corporation on April 26, 2019 supported by accusations of his unauthorized business activities.