Thomas J. Buck, a former Indiana based financial advisor associated with RBC Capital Markets, LLC, was barred from association with any FINRA-registered firm in all capacities after consenting to FINRA findings containing allegations Buck committed misconduct pertaining to commission-based accounts and unauthorized trading and exercise of discretion without oral or written authorization. FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2015044745701 (July 24, 2015).
Acceptance, Waiver and Consent
According to the Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”), beginning in 2009, Buck pursued improper and unethical business practices in order to increase his revenues and commissions, and ultimately his status as a high performing broker. The AWC indicates that he executed his plan via placing client assets in accounts paying commission rather than being fee-based, notwithstanding Buck’s knowledge that his clients would be paying significantly lower fees if fee-based accounts were utilized. The AWC further states that Buck had misled his customers regarding the trading costs of such commission-based v. fee-based accounts. Further, the AWC indicates that Buck exercised control and discretion in his client accounts without first obtaining permissions, making unauthorized trades in the accounts of some of his customers.
According to FINRA, registered representatives are required to analyze and discuss the costs, benefits, and alternatives of commission-based or fee-based accounts. FINRA generally finds that it is a violation of FINRA Rule 2110 when a representative places his customer funds into an account with a higher fee structure than can be expected in an alternative arrangement capable of being offered and which carries the same benefits as the higher fee structure account.
The AWC states that Buck, in engaging in the aforementioned conduct, willfully violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5, FINRA Rules 2010, 2020, 2111, and NASD Rules 2310 and 2510(b).
Public Disclosure Records
Public disclosure records reveal that Buck has been subject to a myriad of customer disputes, 5 of which are pending and 6 which have settled. On May 31, 2006, Buck settled a customer dispute for $75,000.00 after claimants alleged excessive fees and unauthorized purchase of an NYSE listed limited partnership. On March 11, 2015, Buck settled a claim for $300,000 after a client alleged excessive trading from August 2010 through March of 2015. On March 23, 2015, Buck settled a customer dispute for $100,000 after a customer alleged unauthorized trading from January 2012 through March 2015. On April 24, 2015, Buck settled a customer dispute for $24,154.29 after a client alleged unauthorized trading from July 2014 through March 2015. On May 13, 2015, Buck settled a customer dispute for $300,000.00 after a customer alleged unauthorized trading from January 2012 through March 2015. On May 19, 2015, Buck settled a customer dispute for $60,000.00 after a customer alleged unauthorized trading on February 3, 2015. Buck’s pending customer disputes collectively contain allegations of misrepresentation, excessive trading and unsuitable investment recommendations, unauthorized trading, and omission of material facts.
Public disclosure records also reveal that on March 4, 2015, Buck was discharged from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated amid allegations Buck failed to discuss service level and pricing alternatives with a customer, providing inaccurate information to firm management during account reviews regarding this issue, mismarking bond cross trade order tickets as unsolicited, and providing information to a client during an active account review that did not correspond to the firm’s records.
Guiliano Law Group
Investors suffering losses or damages caused by Buck may be able to recover their investment losses. Our practice is limited to the representation of investors in claims, for fraud in connection with the sale of securities, the sale or recommendation of excessively risky or unsuitable securities, breach of fiduciary duty, and the failure to supervise. We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we make a recovery for you, and there is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.