Investigation: Gregory Barr of Raymond James

Sonn Law Group is investigating claims related to former broker Gregory Edward Barr (CRD#1312703). Barr was most recently associated with Raymond James and Associates (“Raymond James”) of Boca Raton, Florida. He worked at Raymond James from June 2014 through July 2014. Prior to joining Raymond James, Barr was associated with Deutsche Bank Securities (“Deutsche Bank”) in Palm Beach, Florida from March 2012 through May 2014. Barr worked at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (“Morgan Stanley”) from June 2009 through April 2012.

Pending Complaints

Barr currently has a pending customer complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) for a $100,000 arbitration claim for damages based on allegations of Barr’s unsuitable recommendations of energy sector stock and limited partnership investments, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract filed in June 2016.

Closed Complaints

In addition to the aforementioned open complaint, Barr had 4 prior complaints that have been resolved, including:

  1. a complaint with alleged damages of $111,000 based on allegations of overconcentration in preferred stock and failure to follow instructions due to the unauthorized liquidation of stock received by FINRA on December 15, 2009 and settled on November 30, 2010 for $14,999.00;
  2. a complaint with alleged damages of $235,250.00 based on allegations of unsuitable investments received by FINRA on August 13, 2009 and settled on December 6, 2010 for $10,500.00;
  3. a complaint with alleged damages of $175,000.00 based on allegations of unsuitable investment recommendations, negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty received by FINRA on May 22, 2009 and settled on November 30, 2010 for $24,000.00; and
  4. a complaint with unspecified damages based on allegations of unsuitability and unauthorized trading was received by FINRA on May 29, 2002 and settled on August 22, 2002 for $17,500. Barr personally contributed $4,375.00 to the settlement.

Just over 7% of brokers have disclosures on their records. It is notable that most brokers have no disclosures on their records and there is a process to expunge, or erase, certain disclosures from their records.

 

Barr was Fired from his Last Two Brokerage Firms

Barr’s CRD reflects that he was discharged from his employment with Raymond James on June 30, 2016 due to allegations of a violation of a heightened supervision plan based on Barr’s failure to keep contemporaneous notes. This release from employment followed Barr’s discharge from his prior employer, Deutche Bank, on May 22, 2014 following Barr’s admission that he exercised discretion in non-discretionary client accounts.

Sanctions

Following an investigation by FINRA, Barr was ultimately sanctioned for his behavior in trading in client’s accounts without authority. He recently signed a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) where he was fined and suspended from associated with any FINRA member for a 10 day period from July 5, 2016 through July 18, 2016. The AWC reflected findings that Barr exercised discretion in customer accounts by entering transactions without obtaining prior written authorization from the clients and without acceptance of his then firm that the accounts were discretionary. (FINRA Case #2014041373401)

 

Industry Standards

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) holds brokerage firms to high standards. A brokerage firm must have a reasonable basis to believe that a transaction is the right fit for you based on their awareness and understanding of your investment profile. The brokerage firm must consider your age, other investments, investment objectives, investment experience, risk tolerance, investment time horizon, liquidity needs, and the like. A broker can be held liable for making unsuitable investment recommendations or for trading without your permission.

Further, FINRA member firms are responsible for the supervision of a broker’s activities while the broker is registered with their firm. Therefore, Raymond James and Associates, Deutsche Bank Securities, and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Barr’s customers.

If you were a client of Raymond James and Associates, Deutsche Bank Securities, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney or Gregory Edward Barr and have experienced investment losses or irregularities in your investment accounts, please call Sonn Law Group at 844-689-5754 or click here to access our contact form. Sonn Law Group is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies.

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