We continue to get calls from persons who have been separated from Fidelity Brokerage Services or one of its related companies, for matters involving alleged misuse of the company’s computer purchase assistance reimbursement program.
Recent reports in the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe suggest that 200 people or so have been fired or permitted to resign from Fidelity for issues relating to the benefit program. Since the Fall of 2017, we’ve fielded dozens of calls from folks who have separated from Fidelity in connection with the computer equipment reimbursement program, and we are now representing several individuals before FINRA in regulatory investigations into their conduct. These FINRA reviews are triggered by the language on their Form U5 (or in cases where the person was not registered, it appears to us that Fidelity reported the termination of such associated person to the regulator and that report commenced a regulatory exam).
If you’ve been interviewed by corporate security but not yet separated from the company or have been told that you are being separated but a U5 has not yet been filed, you may want to be proactive and get legal counsel involved. It may be smart to seek to be permitted to resign. It may also make sense to explore whether it would be appropriate to go ahead and repay any disputed reimbursement amounts at issue and seek to have that fact noted on your Form U5. If you find yourself in this situation, seek legal help now.
Once the Form U5 is filed that reports your separation from the company and reports that you were separated amid allegations of misconduct in connection with the reimbursement program, expect to receive a letter from FINRA seeking information and documents. If you don’t already have legal counsel representing you when that letter comes, it’s certainly time to speak with an experienced lawyer and get help. In my view, representing yourself before FINRA is generally not a good idea.
If you’re facing a regulatory inquiry from FINRA, I invite you to contact us and request a copy of my new book, The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Regulatory Investigations. If you’ve just received a FINRA Rule 8210 letter or are expecting to get one as a result of issues relating to your participation in the reimbursement program, I’ll be glad to send you a copy in the mail, free of charge, while supplies last. Just give us a call or request it by clicking the button below and we can get it right out to you. We’ll need your name and mailing address to get this out to you.
Understand that a regulatory action can have a significant effect on your career. So, get the guidance you need, and work to protect your reputation and your career.
If you’d like to speak about your situation, I invite you to contact us at 678-344-5342. We regularly work with financial advisors across the country in FINRA matters.