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Michael Holder: Former Merrill Lynch Advisor Suspended Over Discretion Allegations

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Dallas, Texas broker and investment advisor Michael Holder (CRD# 6674020) suspended him over allegations he improperly exercised discretion in customer accounts. A former representative of Merrill Lynch, Holder was suspended for 20 days and fined $5,000.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2017056676201) dated January 2019, Holder was associated with Merrill Lynch from June 2016 until December 2017, when the firm disclosed his discharge to FINRA and terminated his resignation. FINRA’s findings state that he exercised discretion in 19 accounts held by 5 firm customers between December 2016 and October 2017. According to FINRA, he had not received these customers’ written pre-approval of to exercise discretionary authority in the account, nor Merrill Lynch’s approval of the accounts in question for discretionary trades. FINRA found these activities to constitute violations of NASD Rule 2510(b), which states that registered representatives are forbidden from exercising discretionary authority in client accounts without the client’s written authorization to do so; the rule also states that representatives must receive their firms’ acceptance of the accounts in question as for discretionary transactions. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, Michael Holder was suspended from association with any FINRA member firm for 20 days. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.

Michael Holder’s disclosure records also list one employment separation: in November 2017 he was discharged from Merrill Lynch over allegations he participated in conduct involving the exercise of discretion in non-discretionary customer accounts and the mis-marking of transactions as unsolicited.

Michael Holder is not currently registered as a broker or investment advisor. His employment history includes Merrill Lynch in Dallas, Texas. He currently holds no state licenses and has passed three securities industry qualification examinations.

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