As recently reported, former broker Kyusun Kim (a/k/a Kyu Sun Kim, a/k/a Kenny Kim) (CRD# 2864085) has consented to a “sanction and to the entry of findings [by FINRA] that he made unsuitable recommendations to numerous senior customers, who were retiring or had retired that they concentrate their retirement assets and liquid net worth in speculative and illiquid securities.” Pursuant to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) accepted by FINRA on June 26, 2018 — and under which Mr. Kim neither admitted nor denied FINRA’s findings — the former financial advisor voluntarily consented to a “bar from association with any FINRA member in any and all capacities.”
Publicly available information via FINRA BrokerCheck indicates that Mr. Kim first entered the securities industry in 1997, and most recently was affiliated with Independent Financial Group, LLC (CRD# 7717) from 2006 – 2016 and, thereafter, Sandlapper Securities, LLC (CRD# 137906) from March 2016 – April 2017. Furthermore, BrokerCheck indicates that Mr. Kim has been the subject of or otherwise involved in 23 customer disputes. With regard to these customer disputes, 13 of these complaints resulted in settlements, while 9 complaints remain pending (1 complaint was denied in October 2010). As to the pending customer complaints, the allegations raised center on Mr. Kim’s purported “… breach of fiduciary duty, breach of oral and written contract, violation of state and federal securities laws, violation of FINRA rules of fair practice … [and] unsuitable investments.”
As encapsulated within the June 26, 2018 AWC, it has been alleged that Mr. Kim “falsely inflated the net worth figures of several customers on their new account forms and other documents so that they appeared eligible to purchase certain speculative investments, in violation of NASD Rules 3110 and 2110 and FINRA Rules 4511 and 2010.” Moreover, as set forth in the AWC, Mr. Kim allegedly made unsuitable investment recommendations to senior customers in violation of NASD Rules 2310 and 2110, as well as FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010.
When recommending an investment, a financial advisor is required to have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction, or investment strategy, involving a security or securities, is suitable for the customer. Accordingly, under FINRA Rule 2111, the suitability standard is premised on the brokerage firm and/or broker obtaining information about the customer in order to ascertain that customer’s investment profile. A customer’s “investment profile” is based upon numerous criteria, including but not limited to the investor’s age, other investments, financial situation and needs, tax status, investment experience and risk tolerance.
In addition, brokerage firms including Independent Financial Group and Sandlapper Securities have a duty to ensure that their registered representatives are adequately supervised. As such, brokerage firms must take reasonable steps to ensure that their brokers follow all applicable securities rules and regulations, as well as adhere to the firm’s internal policies and procedures. In those instances when brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their registered representatives, they may be held liable for losses sustained by investors.
The attorneys at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. have significant experience representing investors in disputes involving broker misconduct and negligence. Investors who wish to discuss a possible case may contact a securities arbitration attorney by telephone at (866) 966-9598, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.