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Chris Bennett: Former Hilliard Lyons Advisor Barred by Regulator

Former Hilliard Lyons broker and investment adviser Chris Bennett (CRD#: 2510231) was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in February 2019 as the result of his allegedly unauthorized use of discretion in customer accounts. The former Louisville, Kentucky-based representative additionally has more than a dozen settled or pending customer complaints listed on his records.

The February 2019 FINRA action against Chris Bennett notes that FINRA Rule 2510(b) states that “no member or registered representative shall exercise discretion in a customer’s account” without that customer’s prior written authorization, and the representative’s firm’s prior written acceptance of the account as discretionary. In spite of this rule, FINRA found, Bennett exercised discretion in four customers’ accounts between January 2014 and December 2015. One of these four was a “senior investor,” according to FINRA. In total, his use of discretion in these instances comprised “approximately 75 total trades,” for which he failed to obtain express customer authorization before placement. FINRA’s findings go on to say he lacked written authorization from the customers to exercise discretion in the accounts in question, and that he failed to seek or receive prior written approval from his firm of the accounts as discretionary. As a result of these activities, he was fined $5,000 and was suspended from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity for 15 business days.

Chris Bennett allegedly recommended unsuitable investments causing losses, made unauthorized trades, churned accounts, and committed fraud, according to a pending July 2019 customer complaint concerning his employment at Hilliard Lyons. The customers who filed that complaint allege damages of $65,000.

Chris Bennett allegedly recommended unsuitable investments, made unauthorized sales and trades, and traded excessively in their accounts, according to a pending May 2019 customer complaint concerning his employment at Hilliard Lyons. The investors who filed that complaint allege damages of $900,000.

He also allegedly recommended unsuitable purchases in oil and gas and other products, according to a 2018 customer complaint concerning his employment at Hilliard Lyons. That complaint reached a settlement of $470,000.

He also allegedly breached his fiduciary duty, churned the account, misrepresented and omitted material facts, failed to supervise, acted negligently, and made unauthorized and excessive trades in a customer’s account, according to a 2017 complaint concerning his conduct at Hilliard Lyons. That complaint concluded with a $445,000 award to the claimant.

Chris Bennett has no current FINRA broker-dealer registrations. His registration with Hilliard Lyons lasted from December 1995 until October 2018. He has passed four securities industry qualification examinations. (Information current as of August 7, 2019.)

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