Finra has suspended and fined a 60-year veteran broker who allegedly engaged in private investments without notifying Morgan Stanley while he was registered there.
James Willing allegedly invested $62,500 of his own money in pooled investment fund interests in three transactions in 2015 and 2016 but failed to notify Morgan Stanley in writing about the investments prior to the transactions, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent published by Finra.
Finra says the investments didn’t involve any assets of Morgan Stanley clients. Willing was registered with Morgan Stanley from 2010 to 2018.
Willing belatedly provided written notification to the firm about the transactions in a private investment disclosure in February 2017, according to Finra.
Nonetheless, Morgan Stanley discharged Willing in January 2018 over concerns “about the timing and completeness of disclosures” about his private investments, according to his BrokerCheck profile.
Last week, Willing agreed to a 35-day suspension and to pay a $7,500 fine without admitting or denying Finra’s findings, according to the consent letter.
After his discharge from Morgan Stanley in 2018, Willing joined Moors & Cabot, where he remains registered.
Meanwhile, in March 2019, the Massachusetts Securities Division ordered Willing to be placed on heightened supervision for two years in connection to his discharge from Morgan Stanley as well as a customer complaint.
Willing has one customer dispute from 2002, alleging that he didn’t follow a client’s instructions on diversifying his account, which led to an over-concentration in risky stocks. The dispute, which sought $118,850, was settled for $9,999, according to his BrokerCheck record.