The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) has suspended financial advisor John Frederick Griner from the securities industry for 15-business days and fined him $15,000. Mr. Griner’s sanctions arise from his improper use of discretion without written authorization.
John Griner was registered with Morgan Stanley in Athens, Georgia from March 2011, until his employment was terminated in October 2019. Morgan Stanley allowed Mr. Griner to voluntarily resign after allegations arose concerning whether certain options trades were properly confirmed with the client before they were placed.
If you have suffered financial losses investing with John Griner or suspect that Ms. Griner did not have your best interest in mind when recommending investments, contact New York securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential review of your account.
Iorio Altamirano LLP represents investors that have disputes with their financial advisors or brokerage firms, such as Morgan Stanley.
FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent No. 2019064538201
John Griner and FINRA entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) on January 7, 2021, over allegations related to Mr. Griner’s conduct between May 2017 and September 2019. FINRA alleged that Mr. Griner exercised discretion without written authorization in four customer accounts, in violation of NASD Rule 2510(b) and FINRA Rules 3260(b) and 2010. Specifically, FINRA alleged that Mr. Griner effected multiple trades in four customers’ accounts without first speaking with the customers on the days he effected these trades.
Under FINRA rules, to exercise discretionary power, a broker must have prior written authorization from a customer before executing a trade. FINRA rules require that a customer sign a discretionary disclosure, which allows the customer to place limits on the discretion being granted to the broker. Additionally, the firm must approve the account to be discretionary. A broker can then use his discretion and place trades without obtaining the customer’s authorization first. A discretionary account is often referred to as a “managed” account. However, without such written authorization by the customer and firm approval, a broker who receives verbal authorization from a client to execute a trade and makes the transaction violates FINRA rules. Oral permission to execute a trade is not sufficient.
In non-discretionary accounts, customers retain discretion, and brokers must always obtain their customer’s permission before placing a trade. You can read more about unauthorized trading in the context of both discretionary and non-discretionary accounts here: Unauthorized Trading.
Morgan Stanley – A Duty to Supervise
Financial institutions, like Morgan Stanley, must properly supervise financial advisors and customer accounts. Brokerage firms are required to establish and maintain a reasonably designed system to oversee account activity, such as the improper use of discretion, to ensure compliance with securities laws and industry regulations. When a brokerage firm fails to supervise its financial advisors or the investment account activity sufficiently, it may be liable for investment losses sustained by customers.
How to Recover Financial Losses or Obtain a Free Consultation
If you have lost money with financial advisor John Griner or Morgan Stanley, contact New York securities arbitration attorney August Iorio of Iorio Altamirano LLP. August Iorio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY. Iorio Altamirano LLP pursues FINRA arbitration claims nationwide on behalf of investors to recover financial losses arising out of wrongful conduct by stockbrokers and brokerage firms.