Finra Suspends Wells Manager Who Let Assistants OK New Accounts
In another reminder to supervising brokers and managers of the necessity of toeing procedural lines, a veteran Oregon adviser agreed to a suspension and $10,000 fine for allegedly allowing two longtime sales assistants to perform account approval and branch supervisory tasks over ten years.
Steven A. Gotter, who worked at Wells Fargo Advisors’ Lake Oswego branch from mid-2006 through September 2016, gave the registered sales associates a common password they used to log into his worklist system and sign his electronic signature on new accounts that he had not reviewed throughout his ten years at Wells, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent accepted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on Wednesday.
Gotter agreed to the fine, along with a four-month suspension from acting in a principal capacity and a two-month suspension from working in any capacity at a member firm, without admitting or denying the findings.
In addition to assigning new-account approval tasks to the registered sales associates “with whom he had previously worked at a different Finra member broker-dealer,” Gotter authorized one of them to sign his name on documents evidencing his approval of branch correspondence and check logs that he had not reviewed, according to the consent letter.
Gotter, who worked for a decade at Wells and predecessor firm Wachovia Securities in Lake Oswego, was a branch manager at the office from March 2015 through his “voluntary departure” in June 2016. He previously performed “delegated supervisory responsibilities” for reviewing branch correspondence, check pick-ups and supervising adherence to computer security policies, the Finra document said.
Gotter, who has been with Raymond James & Associates employee branch in Lake Oswego since leaving Wells two years ago, did not return a call for comment. On his BrokerCheck record, he wrote that he was unaware he was under internal review at the time he resigned. “Further, I do not believe that I violated Firm policies,” he wrote.
Finra charged him with falsifying firm documents in violation of its Rule 2010 requiring “high standards of conduct,” with causing Wells to maintain inaccurate books and records in violation of its Rule 4511(a), and with violating the standard of conduct rule by failing to supervise in accordance with Wells’ written procedures.
Prior to joining Wachovia 12 years ago, Gottler spent 22 years as a registered rep with Piper Jaffray & Co. in Lake Oswego, according to his BrokerCheck record. Aside from his “employment separation” from Wells, he has no disclosure events on his BrokerCheck record.