Expert's Corner: Selling Away - Broker-Dealer Liability for Selling Away Transactions and the Responsibility of Supervisory Personnel
By: Bob Lawson
In the securities brokerage industry, "selling-away" refers to the prohibited practice of an Associated Person effecting or soliciting the sale of securities or investment products not held or approved with whom the broker is affiliated without prior written consent. FINRA regulators have seen a steady flow of selling-away cases over the years involving registered representatives who are being targeted by issuers, promoters and marketing agents to sell their nontraditional investment products to their retail customers. In many instances, promoters of these products are marketing them as non-securities products that do not have to be sold through a broker-dealer by a registered person. In a significant number of cases, associated persons have sold these investments to their customers away from the broker-dealer and without firm approval as required by FINRA Rule 3270. Selling-away often occurs in an independent branch or a satellite office, where Associated Persons are removed from the day-to-day oversight and supervision of their brokerage firm's compliance department.