Broker Beware - Raymond James Rep Fined, Suspended by FINRA for Taking Confidential Client Information from Prior Firm

Edward Ryan Buechting of Tempe, AZ has entered into a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent (“AWC”) with FINRA dated October 3, 2017, in which he agreed to a $5,000 fine and a ten-day suspension. The sanctions relate to Buechting’s taking of client information three years ago when he resigned from Edward Jones to join Raymond James.

The AWC indicates that prior to voluntarily resigning from Edward Jones in August 2014, Buechting used a personal digital camera to photograph 200 pages of electronic client information. The information on these pages included the clients’ birthdates, social security numbers, net worth and annual income.

By taking such information to his new firm, Buechting caused a violation of Reg S-P, which generally prohibits the disclosure of clients’ non-public personal information. By causing such an infraction, Buechting also violated FINRA’s all encompassing Rule 2010, which requires brokers to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.

The AWC also notes that Raymond James became aware of Buechting’s actions at Edward Jones. During its internal investigation, he initially denied photographing the customer information. He later admitted to the conduct and was fined $15,000 by Raymond James and received a Letter of Admonishment.

The AWC is silent as to how FINRA became aware of this situation. This regulatory matter is the only disclosure on Buechting’s BrokerCheck report.

Buechting joined Edward Jones in 2000. He continues to be employed at Raymond James.

We note that Edward Jones is not a member of the Recruiting Protocol. Therefore, Buechting was presumably bound by some type of non-solicitation agreement that prohibited him from taking client information with him to his new firm (although what he did would have violated the Recruiting Protocol). We also note that Edward Jones has a reputation for vigorously enforcing its non-solicitation agreements, although there is no reference in the AWC or media reports on this matter that Edward Jones initiated any legal actions against Buechting after his resignation.

Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo are experienced securities employment attorneys. If you are a broker looking to move to another firm, we can review any employment agreements you may have and/or advise you as to what you can and cannot do under the terms of the Recruiting Protocol. You should consult with us before you move to make your transition as seamless as possible, for you and your clients.