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Carmelo Arce: Puerto Rico Broker Suspended, Fined

Nationwide Planning Associates broker/adviser Carmelo Arce (CRD# 5526419), has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in connection to allegations he was made discretionary trades without proper authorization. A representative at the firm’s branch office in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, Arce was issued a seven-month suspension and a fine of $5,000.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2018059949301) dated November 2019, Carmelo Arce was associated with Nationwide Planning Associates as a General Securities Representatives and an Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative when, between February 2017 and February 2018, he “executed approximately 739 discretionary trades in the accounts of 16 customers.” FINRA’ findings state that the customers in question had provided Arce with implied authorization to exercise discretion in their accounts, but had not provided him with written authorization to exercise discretion in their accounts. FINRA states additionally that none of the accounts had been approved for discretionary trading by Nationwide Planning Associates, noting that NASD Rule 2510(b) requires registered representatives to seek their firms’ prior written acceptance of accounts as discretionary, as well as customers’ prior written authorization, before exercising discretion in a customer account. FINRA found that Arce’s activities constituted a violation of NASD Rule 2510(b), which is also a violation of FINRA Rule 2010, which requires FINRA members and associated persons to “observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.” As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, Arce was suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for a period of one month. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.

Carmelo Arce, who is also known as Carmelo Arce Alvarez, has been registered with Nationwide Planning Associates in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico since 2014. His previous registrations include MML Investors Services in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has passed four securities industry qualifying examinations and his BrokerCheck report lists three state/territory securities licenses. (Information current as of May 6, 2020.)

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