Who Finked on Jones Broker Who Lifted Client Data?
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has imposed a 10-day suspension and $5,000 fine on a broker in Arizona for violating federal privacy law by taking nonpublic personal data about clients from Edward Jones before joining Raymond James & Associates three years ago.
Buried within the routine acceptance, waiver and consent order that the regulator published on Tuesday is the fact that the broker was previously fined $15,000 by Raymond James itself for first denying and then admitting that he electronically purloined the data on Jones customers to assist him in attracting them to RayJay.
Edward Ryan Buechting, a 16-year industry veteran, accepted Finra’s enforcement sanctions without admitting or denying its findings that he used his personal digital camera to photograph 200 electronic pages with clients’ social security numbers, birth dates, income and investment objective shortly before quitting Jones in August 2014.
“It was probably a poor decision on my part, but you care for people and you don’t want to give them all up,” said Buechting, 42. “It’s a tough business, and when you start moving business of that size, the gloves come off.”
Buechting spent the first 14 years of his 16-year career with Edward Jones and says he twice won peer group awards at the firm for his flourishing production.
An Edward Jones spokesman declined to comment, except to note that the St. Louis-based firm was “not a party” to the Finra enforcement action.
Spokespeople at Raymond James did not respond to requests for comment on how it was alerted to the alleged purloining of the data or whether it worked with Jones. In addition to fining Buechting, who works in an employee-channel Ray Jay office in Tempe, the firm issued a letter of admonishment to him, according to the Finra consent letter.
Buechting’s actions violated the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Reg S-P, which in turn triggered a trespass of Finra’s Rule 2010 governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade, the regulator wrote.
Unlike Raymond James, Jones is not a member of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting that permits brokers to take rudimentary client contact information with them when they move to another firm that has signed the protocol. As a result, Jones has been aggressive in suing brokers who jump, even as it has a new effort underway to recruit industry veterans, according to former employees and headhunters.
Buechting holds no grudges against Raymond James for its $15,000 fine against him.
“Raymond James has to police themselves, and in a sense had to punish me,” he said. “They were hoping what they did would have been enough.”
The 10-day Finra suspension is milder than the 30-day halt that the regulator initially sought, Buechting said.
His Los Angeles-based lawyer, Sylvia Scott, did not respond to requests for comment on the Finra decision or the facts motivating it.
Buechting said he left Jones after his long sojourn there because of his anger over the firm’s firing of his twin sister, Christine, a California broker who was terminated for using pre-populated or altered client account documents, according to her BrokerCheck record. He said she was held liable for her assistant’s violations but that Edward Jones threw her under the bus despite his pleas for support.
“I would have walked through fire for them,” he said of Jones, but “not after they wrong my family.”
Buechting’s sister currently works at a Raymond James office in Capitola, Calif., according to her BrokerCheck record, while his wife, Stephanie, continues to work at the Jones office in Tempe, where she has spent her 14-year career.