According to his Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), John Bernard allegedly violated securities laws. Mr. Bernard was accused of exercising discretion without written authorization in the accounts of seven customers, while he was registered with LPL. Between January 2013 and December 2014, Mr. Bernard exercised discretion in the accounts of seven customers, and LPL had not accepted the accounts for discretionary trading. For this misconduct, he was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member firm in any capacity for 20 business days.
According to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Mr. Bernard was previously registered with Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York from October 1995 until November 2005, and LPL in Shell Beach, California from November 2005 until March 2015. He is currently registered with Independent Financial Group in San Luis Obispo, California, and has been since February 2015. He has two customer disputes against him, alleging unsuitability, churning, failure to supervise and alleged unauthorized trading. Churning is a particularly egregious form of misconduct, because it is excessive trading in a customer’s account. It typically results in losses and unnecessary fees for the client and large commissions for the broker. It is against securities laws.