The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says it has suspended and fined an experienced financial advisor over allegations that he used unapproved communications while at Wells Fargo.
Yan Binder joined the financial services industry in 1997 and came to Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network in Coral Springs, Florida, in 2015, according to BrokerCheck. In December 2019, the company allowed Binder to resign voluntarily over “allegations related to corresponding by text message with a client,” according to his BrokerCheck profile.
“Mr. Binder informed FiNet of his intent to resign before the allegations were known to him. No customer harm was identified,” the company added.
In the broker comment section of the disclosure, Binder wrote that he believes he “was allowed to text casually with the client” and was “upfront” with the firm about the communications.
“If the potential purchase or sale of securities was communicated to me via text, I would shift it to phone call or communications from the Wells Fargo approved communication processes,” Binder wrote.
Moreover, Binder wrote that he “provided Wells Fargo with all of my text messages with the client in question.”
Finra, however, claims that from at least August 2018 through May 2019, Binder exchanged “numerous” texts with a customer about securities-related business over a “a non-firm texting service,” which prevented the firm from preserving those messages, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent published by the industry’s self-regulator.
In addition, Finra claims that Binder did so despite getting a “reminder” from Wells Fargo in 2017 “about the need to refrain from communicating with customers about securities business via text message.”
Binder agreed to a 30-calendar day suspension and to pay a $10,000 fine without admitting or denying the findings, according to the letter of consent.
After his resignation from Wells Fargo, Binder registered with Morgan Stanley in Boca Raton, Florida, and remains with the firm, according to BrokerCheck.
Employee communications over unauthorized channels recently led to record settlements that JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with more major banks expected to strike similar deals.
Finra, meanwhile, is going after individual brokers. Earlier this month, it suspended and fined a UBS advisor fired over allegedly unapproved communications with customers.