A Finra arbitrator denied a record expungement claim filed by a former Vanguard broker the firm had fired for allegedly watching YouTube and showing up late, the industry’s self-regulator says.
William Dean Ferguson began his financial services industry career in August 2017 with Vanguard Marketing Corporation, a distributor of Vanguard funds, according to an award document published by Finra. The company discharged him just 10 months later, in April 2018, writing in his Form U5 that Ferguson was terminated for “Violation of Professional Conduct Policy — Work Avoidance,” the regulator says. In August 2018, Ferguson filed a claim seeking to expunge his Form U5 and agreed, as did Vanguard, to have a sole arbitrator decide the case, Finra says. But Ferguson then failed to appear for the initial pre-hearing conference in January 2019 and then for the evidentiary hearing earlier this month, according to the award document.
Meanwhile, Ferguson’s former manager, whom Finra only identifies as “Mr. F,” did show up for the hearing to testify, and Vanguard submitted other exhibits that the Finra arbitrator says “clearly establish” that Ferguson had violated the firm’s conduct policy.
Among his alleged violations were watching YouTube on his phone when he was supposed to be working, watching a hockey game while using a code designated for training purposes and regularly arriving late to work, according to the award document.
Ferguson must cover the $900 hearing session fees arising, the arbitrator ruled.