Representative Barred from FINRA for Cheating on CE

According to a recent FINRA disciplinary actions notice, a registered representative from Montpelier Virginia was barred from any FINRA member in all capacities for using an “imposter” to take his continuing education courses for him.

The findings stated that the representative was required to complete an ethics continuing education course created by his member firm. Instead of taking the course, however, the representative instructed an assistant to take the course for him. The assistant did so by logging onto the firm’s online training portal using his credentials. The representative also instructed the assistant to complete for him several anti-money laundering continuing education courses provided by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA Training).

In addition, the representative erroneously believed he had to complete a continuing education course, due to his being copied on one or more emails about the training from the firm’s licensing director. Similar to before, the representative forwarded the email to the assistant, with the intent that the assistant should complete the training on his behalf. The assistant took the training by logging onto the firm’s web-based learning resource center using his credentials.

The findings also stated that the representative cheated on his FINRA regulatory element training by using this same assistant to take the training for him. The representative had to complete the regulatory element through online delivery. He received an email reminder from the firm’s compliance department. He then forwarded the email to the assistant with the expectation that she would take the regulatory element on his behalf.

The findings included that the broker in question falsely denied his cheating to the firm. When in fact, the supervision department of the firm discovered emails showing the assistant had taken his regulatory element on his behalf. A review of the assistant’s computer activity confirmed she had been on FINRA’s online continuing education system for a great deal of time, which was consistent with her taking the regulatory element. 

The representative testified that his firm’s sales target demands had become so astronomical that he couldn’t keep up with them, according to FINRA. He “lost clarity and focus and blindly forwarded” to his assistant firm emails reminding him of his CE obligations, FINRA said.

While leniency was requested, FINRA confirmed that the “standard sanction for using an impostor in the Regulatory Element is a bar.” To read the complete disciplinary actions notice, click here.