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FINRA Suspends Houston Broker James Kearney

James Kearney (CRD# 265734), a financial professional formerly registered as a broker with Raymond James & Associates, has been sanctioned by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in connection to allegations he exercised discretion without proper authorization. Formerly based in the firm’s Houston, Texas branch office, Kearney was issued a 15-day suspension and a fine of $2,500. 

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2018060118401) dated November 2019, James Kearney was associated with Raymond James & Associates as a General Securities Representative beginning in 2013, and remained there until the firm disclosed its termination of his employment in September 2018. FINRA states that between November 2017 and May 2018, he “exercised discretion in effecting 200 trades in the accounts of 20 customers.” He had conferred with the customers in question about investment strategies on a routine bases, according to FINRA, but “did not speak with the customers about the specific trades” on the dates that he conducted them. He also allegedly had not received written authorization from those customers to use discretion in their accounts. FINRA notes that his firm forbade representatives from exercising discretion in customers’ brokerage accounts without their written authorization, and further that the firm had not accepted the accounts in question for discretionary trading. 

The findings go on to state that he mis-marked 47 orders as unsolicited, and that he did not mark any of them as discretionary. FINRA states that these activities violated NASD Rule 2510)b) and FINRA Rule 2010. FINRA states further that he caused his firm to make and preserve inaccurate records, violating the Exchange Act, as well as FINRA Rules 4511 and 2010. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, he was suspended from associating with any FINRA member for 15 days. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $2,500.

James Kearney is currently not registered with any FINRA member firm. His previous registrations include Raymond James & Associates, Morgan Keegan & Company, Robert W. Baird & Company, SG Cowen Securities Corporation, Cowen & Company, and WE Hutton & Company. He has passed four securities industry qualifying examinations and his BrokerCheck report currently lists no state securities licenses. (Information current as of May 6, 2020.)

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