CFD Investments, Inc. (“CFD”) and FINRA entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) over CFD’s failure to conduct reasonable due diligence into Payson Petroleum, Inc.’s private placement offerings and its failure to document the limited due diligence that it conducted. As part of the August 24, 2020 AWC, CFD was censured and suspended for 45 days from all private placement activities. CFD’s suspension is in effect through November 18, 2020. CFD also agreed to pay $750,000 in partial restitution to customers.
The AWC allegations involve CFD’s oil and gas private placement sales to retail customers. Specifically, that between March 2015 and February 2016, CFD recommended and sold interests in Payson to 31 of its retail customers who invested nearly $2.2 million. CFD did not conduct reasonable due diligence into the offerings prior to making its recommendations. When Payson went bankrupt in 2016, CFD’s 31 customers lost all or substantially all of their investments. CFD and its representatives received $198,100 in commissions from Payson for these sales.
The private placement offerings were approved through CFD’s Chief Compliance Officer Matthew Bahrenburg (CRD#: 5295661). Bahrenburg has served in the role since 2012 and has been registered with FINRA since 2007. FINRA suspended Bahrenburg from engaging in principal and supervisory activities through November 4, 2020. The investigation found that CFD, through Bahrenburg: