Bar of 37-Year Veteran Re-raises Question: “What Was She Thinking”
(Clarifies charges against Eppig in second paragraph.)
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has been pursuing advisors for sometimes inadvertent lapses such as failing to disclose tax liens and for more obvious ones such as borrowing money from clients without firm permission. For brokers to do both is asking for trouble.
Finra on Thursday barred Aileen Eppig from working at a member firm after investigating her alleged failure to disclose a $704,844 judgment in 2013 and to report to her employer, Stifel Nicolaus, that she had borrowed $103,000 from a client. The self-regulator said the sanction was precipitated by Eppig’s refusal to participate in the investigation.
Enforcement officials began investigating the Hauppauge, Long Island-based broker this year after reviewing the Form U5 termination Stifel filed with regulators, according to a waiver and consent document published on Finra’s website.
Eppig, who agreed to the bar without admitting or denying the charges, did not respond to a request for comment.
For the past two years, Finra has been upping its surveillance of disclosure issues that brokers often say are lapses over old tax bills or minor crimes from their youth, prompting lawyers to tell them to come clean about past indiscretions rather than hope they are not noticed. The regulator has come down on scores of brokers in the trenches along with such high-profile names as tech investment banking legend Bill Hambrecht and Michael Marchassalla, a well-known New York City manager at Oppenheimer and Morgan Stanley.
Eppig, who worked for two months last year at International Assets Advisory after Stifel terminated her in October 2015, is not currently registered as a broker, according to Finra’s BrokerCheck database. She began her career in 1978 at Prudential Securities, where she worked for 16 years prior to a 14-year stint at A.G. Edwards and its successor firm Wells Fargo Advisors.
Over her 37-year career, she attracted two client complaints that were settled for a total of $13,501 (against client claims of $47,116). The settlement notice with Finra does not spell out details of the violations that led to her ouster, but Stifel alleged that she accepted loans from a customer totalling $103,000 and failed to disclose the unspecified judgment against her.
To , to be punished for failing to disclose one matter may be regarded as a misfortune; to commit a second violation looks like carelessness.