Adjudication and Decisions

When FINRA determines that violations of securities rules have occurred and formal disciplinary action is necessary, the Enforcement Department or Market Regulation Department files a complaint with the Office of Hearing Officers (OHO).

The Office arranges a three-person panel to hear the case. The panel is chaired by a hearing officer who is an employee of the Office of Hearing Officers. The Chief Hearing Officer appoints two industry panelists, drawn primarily from a pool of current and former securities industry members of FINRA's District Committees, as well as its Market Regulation Committee, former members of FINRA's National Adjudicatory Council (NAC) and former FINRA Governors.

At the hearing, the parties present evidence for the panel to determine whether a firm or individual has engaged in conduct that violates FINRA rules, SEC regulations or federal securities laws. In reaching its decision, the hearing panel also considers previous court, SEC, and NAC decisions to determine if violations occurred. The NAC is the national committee which reviews initial decisions rendered in FINRA disciplinary and membership proceedings.

For each case, the hearing panel will issue a written decision explaining the reasons for its ruling and consult the FINRA Sanction Guidelines to determine the appropriate sanctions if violations have occurred. FINRA also, when feasible and appropriate, can order firms and individuals to make restitution to harmed customers.

Appeals Process

Under FINRA's disciplinary procedures, a firm or individual has the right to appeal a hearing panel decision to the NAC, or the NAC may on its own initiate a review of a decision. On appeal, the NAC will determine if a hearing panel's findings were legally correct, factually supported and consistent with FINRA's Sanction Guidelines. While a panel decision is on appeal, the sanction is not enforced against the firm or individual.

Unless FINRA's Board of Governors decides to review the NAC's appellate decision, that decision represents FINRA's final action. A firm or individual can appeal FINRA's decision to the SEC and then to federal court.

Date of Decisionsort ascending Proceeding No. Title Type
Dec 17, 1997 C01960003,C01960024 L.H. Alton & Company & Lewis Hunt Alton Disciplinary Decision
Dec 15, 1997 CMS970028 Order Granting in Part Complainant's Motion to Exclude Witnesses and Amend Exhibit List Disciplinary Order
Dec 15, 1997 C05970037 Order Denying Motion to Stay Proceeding Disciplinary Order
Dec 9, 1997 C10970128 Order Regarding Department of Enforcements Contact with Respondent's Counsel Disciplinary Order
Dec 1, 1997 CMS950042 In the Matter of Market Regulation Committee Complainant, v. Respondent 1 Disciplinary Decision, Redacted Decision
Dec 1, 1997 C10960019 David A. Blech Disciplinary Decision
Dec 1, 1997 CMS950042 Victor H. Palma, Jr. Disciplinary Decision
Nov 28, 1997 CAF970002 Order Denying Motions for More Definite Statement Disciplinary Order
Nov 24, 1997 C07950030 In the Matter of Complainant 1, vs. Respondent Firm 1, and Respondent 2 Disciplinary Decision, Redacted Decision
Nov 20, 1997 C07960014 In the Matter of District Business Conduct Committee for District No. 7 Complainant, vs. Respondent 1, and Respondent 2, and Respondent 3 Disciplinary Decision, Redacted Decision
Nov 20, 1997 C9A960030 Brian L. Shegon Disciplinary Decision
Nov 20, 1997 C10960116 Ilana Abby Knapp Disciplinary Decision
Nov 20, 1997 C07960110 Darren L. Klemp Disciplinary Decision
Nov 20, 1997 C07960065 Christopher K. Cutchens Disciplinary Decision
Nov 18, 1997 C3A960014 In the Matter of District Business Conduct Committee for District No. 3 Complainant, vs. Respondent 1 Disciplinary Decision, Redacted Decision
Nov 18, 1997 C3A960014 John Holland Disciplinary Decision
Nov 15, 1997 C07970055 Final Pre-hearing Conference Order Disciplinary Order
Nov 14, 1997 C10970141 Order Extending Time for Respondents to Answer Disciplinary Order
Nov 13, 1997 CAF970002 Order Regarding Motion of Respondents Requesting an Extension of Time to Answer, a More Definite Answer, and an Updated Service List Disciplinary Order
Nov 11, 1997 CAF970002 Order Denying Motion of Respondents and for Extension of Time to Answer Disciplinary Order
Nov 5, 1997 C01950010 Ashton N. Gowadia Disciplinary Decision
Oct 30, 1997 C8A950030 James Allen Merlen & City Securities Corporation Disciplinary Decision
Oct 30, 1997 C8A930048 Miguel Angel Cruz Disciplinary Decision
Oct 29, 1997 CMS960105 Order Denying Motion for Disqualification of Hearing Officer Disciplinary Order
Oct 29, 1997 C10970160 Order Denying Motion for a More Definite Statement Disciplinary Order

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