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Kit Kessler: FINRA Investigates American Trust Advisor

San Clemente, California financial advisor Kit Kessler (CRD# 4543640) is under investigation for allegedly participating in an unapproved outside business activity. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show that he is currently registered as a broker with American Trust Investment Services and an advisor with Asset Strategies and Chicago Capital Management Advisors.

Mr. Kessler’s BrokerCheck report discloses FINRA’s investigation into his conduct. Filed in March 2024, it states that FINRA made a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action against him. The action would concern allegations that he “engaged in outside business activity without prior written notice to his firm” and further that he “submitted false annual compliance certifications to his firm,” both in violation of FINRA rules. The investigation remains pending.

A second disclosure on his BrokerCheck report concerns an earlier FINRA sanction against him. Filed in 2014, it alleged that as Chief Compliance Officer of Newport Coast Securities, he failed to establish and maintain an adequate supervisory system with respect to a representative to “facilitated a private securities transaction by causing an elder customer’s securities to be transferred from the customer’s account at the firm to an account controlled by the former representative at the firm without the customer’s approval.” In connection with these findings, he was fined $5,000 and issued a 10-day suspension from registering with any member firm in any principal capacity.

American Trust Investment Services’ website includes a profile of Mr. Kessler that describes him as the firm’s Managing Partner and President. “Kristopher (Kit) Kessler is a 20-year financial industry veteran, having served in retail sales, operations, trading, compliance, and management capacities,” it states. “Kit’s focus is on alternative investments and business development. Advisors regularly leverage his talents, skills, and resources to evolve their practices.”

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Kit Kessler holds 21 years of securities industry experience. Based in San Clemente, California and Lisle, Illinois, he has been a broker with American Trust Investment Services since 2020. His past registrations include WestPark Capital, Newport Coast Securities, Brookstreet Securities Corporation, WM Financial Services, American Express Financial Advisors, and IDS Life Insurance Company. His credentials include the passage of six securities industry qualifying exams: the General Securities Principal Examination, or Series 24; the General Securities Representative Examination, or Series 7; the Securities Industry Essentials Examination, or SIE; the Operations Professional Examination, or Series 99TO; the Investment Banking Registered Representative Examination, or Series 79TO; and the Uniform Combined State Law Examination, or Series 66. He is licensed in California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, and Texas. (Information current as of March 15, 2024.)

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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