The Monetary Business Regulatory Authority barred two brokers from the trade after accusing them of dishonest on qualification exams final 12 months. It marks the primary time the regulator introduced actions in opposition to brokers for dishonest on distant exams.
FINRA barred Brandon Autiero, a N.J.-based dealer affiliated with Equitable Advisors, and Harris Kausar, an aspiring funding banking consultant with Barclays primarily based out of New York. The enforcement actions put examination cheaters “on discover,” based on Jessica Hopper, FINRA’s Enforcement Division head and government vp.
“Whatever the testing setting, FINRA stays vigilant in our efforts to detect dishonest and can vigorously pursue disciplinary motion—together with everlasting bars—in opposition to any particular person who cheats on qualification examinations,” she stated in a press release.
In accordance with the settlement letter for Autiero, the dealer took a number of qualification exams in March, June, July and September 2021, and in every occasion Autiero obtained an lodging to take the examination remotely.
Throughout on-line assessments, proctors use camera-equipped computer systems to observe the examination course of, based on FINRA. All take a look at takers should additionally retailer private objects outdoors the room, and never use any gadgets to entry the web, however throughout the exams, Autiero logged on-line, checking with a number of internet boards for assist answering the questions.
The allegations mirrored these in opposition to Kausar, who took a Sequence 79 examination in December 2021 and likewise obtained lodging for a web-based examination.
In settling the fees, the 2 brokers accepted FINRA’s findings and punishment with out admitting or denying the fees. Autiero was permitted to resign from Equitable after “admitting having violated moral requirements” throughout a FINRA examination, based on his BrokerCheck profile.
FINRA’s Securities Business Necessities, Sequence 6 and Sequence 7 exams can all be taken in-person or remotely, whereas different FINRA exams could be taken remotely with permission.
FINRA-regulated corporations have additionally referred to as for department exams to proceed to be carried out remotely in lieu of in-person visits, arguing the trade was ready to work with distant inspections on a everlasting foundation, with one Cetera compliance rep telling FINRA final 12 months that regulators ought to think about conducting all common exams remotely until an in-person go to is important, and that the downsides of on-site visits outweighed the advantages.
Earlier this 12 months, FINRA prolonged the rule permitting distant workplace inspections that had been in place all through 2020 and 2021 all through the top of 2022.