arbitration notice

Steven S. Maher Sr. of Oradell, New Jersey, a stockbroker registered with Next Financial Group Inc., was the subject of a customer initiated investment related civil action that was settled for $20,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that Maher breached a contract, made misrepresentations, was negligent, and breached his fiduciary duties in connection with the  recommendation and sale of variable annuities when Maher was associated with Next Financial Group Inc. Civil Action No. BER-L-6177-19 (May 11, 2020).

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Public Disclosure shows that Maher has been fined $10,000.00 and suspended from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity for two months based upon allegations that Maher Maher consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he obtained a customer’s signature on a partially completed Variable Annuity Disclosure Form and used a photocopy of the signature page to complete additional forms that were required to obtain his member firm’s approval of the transaction he was recommending to the customer.  FINRA Enforcement Action (AWC) Case No. 2017055286901 (Mar. 3, 2020).

According to the AWC, between December 2016 and June 2017, during the time that he was associated with NEXT Financial Group Inc., Maher obtained a customer’s signature on an incomplete variable annuity disclosure form and used a photocopy of the signature page to complete disclosure forms that were necessary to obtain NEXT Financial’s approval of the recommended transactions on five occasions.

Specifically, NEXT Financial required that a separate variable annuity disclosure form be signed and completed for each variable annuity that was being surrendered. Maher took blank disclosure forms and utilized a photocopy of the signed signature pages to complete the additional disclosures in order to get the firm’s approval to complete the transactions. As a result, Maher violated FINRA Rule 2010.

Next Financial Group Inc. discharged Maher based upon allegations that Maher violated company policy concerning customer signatures.