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William Thurmond: FIRA Suspends NYC Broker Over ETF Trades

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former New York, New York broker William Thurmond (CRD# 870133) suspended him over allegations he recommended unsuitable exchange-traded fund investments. A former representative of Alexander Capital, Thurmond was fined $25,000 and suspended from acting as a broker for 15 months as a result of these findings.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2016048867401) dated April 2019, William Thurmond recommended a customer make unsuitable trades involving leveraged and inverse-leveraged exchange traded funds (ETFs) between December 2011 and October 2013. FINRA’s complaint also states that he “executed various unauthorized trades” between December 2011 and July 2012 in the same client’s account. FINRA’s findings finally state that he led his firm to maintain inaccurate books and records when he kept “blank account authorization forms that were signed by a customer.” According to FINRA, these activities constituted violations of NASD and FINRA Rules.

FINRA’s findings state specifically that William Thurmond placed 45 leveraged and inverse-leveraged ETF trades in the account of his customer, a contract fireman with limited investment experience and inconsistent objectives and risk tolerance, between December 2011 and October 2013. FINRA’s findings note that the ETF products in question “are typically unsuitable for retail investors who plan to held them for longer than one trading session, particularly in volatile markets.” The findings also state that in a meeting before Thurmond placed the trades, the customer expressed his wish “not to put his principal in danger,” although Thurmond allegedly did not update the investor’s investment goals to reflect this wish.

According to FINRA, 18 of the ETF trades Thurmond placed in the above-mentioned time frame were placed without authorization from the customer or his power of attorney, and many of the ETFs were held in the account for “much longer than the short holding periods discussed in the prospectuses.” As such, according to FINRA, the investments were not suitable for the customer, “given his risk tolerance, financial experience, and liquidity.” FINRA’s findings state that these unsuitable recommendations resulted in the customer experiencing losses of $212,731, while resulting in $42,724 in commission payments to Thurmond.

As a result of this and other alleged conduct, William Thurmond was suspended for 15 months from association with any FINRA member firm in all capacities. He was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 and to disgorge the commissions he received.

William Thurmond is not currently registered as a broker or investment advisor. His employment history includes Alexander Capital, EDI Financial, Cullum & Sandow Securities, Signal Securities, Texas Securities, Americap Financial, Dickinson & Company, and EF Hutton & Company. He currently holds no state registrations and has passed four securities industry qualification examinations.

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