Finra has barred a Merrill Lynch broker for actions stemming from conduct related to his personal bank accounts.

Michael D’Aquila, the barred broker, was terminated by Merrill Lynch in December 2018 for “conduct inconsistent with firm standards related to personal bank accounts and failure to be forthcoming during the Firm’s review of the matter.”

D’Aquila accepted and consented to Finra’s sanctions without admitting or denying the findings.

Ultimately, D’Aquila was barred because he refused to appear for testimony at a Finra hearing related to his personal bank accounts, which is in violation of Rule 8210 and Rule 2010, according to the SRO.

Rule 8210 gives Finra the following rights for the purpose of an investigation, complaint, examination or proceeding:

  • They can require a registered representative or associates to provide information orally, in writing, or electronically and to testify under oath on any matter involved in the investigation, complaint, examination or proceeding; and
  • They can inspect and copy the books, records and accounts of that registered representative or associates also in any matter involved in the investigation, complaint, examination or proceeding.


Finra barred a total of 85 registered representatives in the first half of this year. And most — or 61% — were booted out of the industry for not showing up to a regulatory hearing, not providing information required by the SRO in the case, or both, as reported.

Rule 2010 requires registered representatives to “observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade” in the conduct of business.