Former Waddell & Reed advisers Michael Rasmovich and Carlos Benavidez (who operated under the RBR Group) have accepted a suspension and fine from FINRA relating to allegations that they executed trades in client accounts without obtaining written authorization from the customers. FINRA also alleged that Rasmovich and Benavidez backdated certain notes to falsely reflect that conversations had taken place with the affected customers prior to the trades being made.
According to Rasmovich’s and Benavidez’s Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”) with FINRA, they “exercised discretion in effecting hundreds of securities transactions in approximately 80 customer accounts” and “Rasmovich did not obtain written authorization from his customers to exercise discretion in their accounts.” The AWCs further allege that Rasmovich and Benavidez “backdated approximately 26 customer notes that had been created in the firm’s SmartOffice program in order to falsely reflect that Rasmovich or another member of the RBR Group had conversed with those customers on August 29, 2014, before the trades were effected on September 2, 2014.”
Rasmovich and Benavidez each agreed to a two-month suspension from the industry and to pay a $10,000 fine relating to the allegations of unauthorized trading.
A review of Rasmovich’s and Benavidez’s FINRA BrokerCheck report shows that they were discharged by Waddell & Reed on January 27, 2015. A third adviser of the RBR Group, Steven Ridgley, was also discharged. Benavidez and Ridgley are currently employed by International Assets Advisory, and Rasmovich is not currently employed by a FINRA member firm.
The FINRA disciplinary proceeding relating to Benavidez is No. 2014043025701.
The FINRA disciplinary proceeding relating to Rasmovich is No. 2014043025702.
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