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Conrad Branson: FINRA Suspends Ex-Merrill Lynch Advisor

San Diego financial advisor Conrad Branson (CRD# 2939162) engaged in unauthorized trading, according to a recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority sanction. FINRA records show that the Kingswood Capital Partners broker and investment advisor, formerly affiliated with Merrill Lynch in Mill Valley, has been issued a 45-day suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm. 

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2020066687601) issued in August 2022, Conrad Branson was affiliated with Merrill Lynch when, between September 2019 and February 2020, he “effected fourteen unauthorized transactions in three customer accounts” held by the same customer. The transactions in question were executed “without the customer’s prior authorization, knowledge, or consent,” FINRA found. The AWC Letter states further that he exercised five discretionary trades in two of that customer’s accounts without the customer’s prior written authorization or the firm’s acceptance of the accounts as discretionary. He also allegedly improperly exercised discretion when he made six trades in two other customers’ accounts without obtaining their prior written authorization or the firm’s acceptance. FINRA found that these actions constituted violations of FINRA Rules 3260 and 2020, issuing him a fine of $5,000 and a 45-day suspension from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.

Mr. Branson’s BrokerCheck report discloses one investor complaint against him. Filed in 2020, it alleged that as a Merrill Lynch representative, he executed unauthorized trades. The complaint reached a settlement of $34,130. In a statement on the disclosure, Mr. Branson wrote that he denied the allegations and “believed there was a misunderstanding.” 

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Conrad Branson holds 24 years of securities industry experience. Based in San Diego, California, he has been a broker and an investment advisor with Kingswood Capital since 2022. His past registrations include Merrill Lynch (Mill Valley, California; 2013-2022), Morgan Stanley (San Rafael, California; 2009-2013), Morgan Stanley & Company San Rafael, California; 2008-2009), Citigroup Global Markets (Mill Valley, California; 2007-2008), and Citicorp investment Services Mill Valley, California; 1997-2007). His credentials include the passage of four securities industry qualifying exams: the General Securities Representative Examination, or Series 7; the Securities Industry Essentials Examination, or SIE; the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, or Series 63; and the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, or Series 65. With his suspension set to commence on September 19, 2022 and lift on November 2, 2022, he is currently licensed in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. (Information current as of August 24, 2022.)

Carlson Law represents investors throughout the United States in claims against financial advisors and investment firms. If you or a loved one have suffered investment losses, please call us at 888-976-6111 or complete our contact form for a free and confidential consultation.

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