On July 7, 2023, FINRA issued an AWC (Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent) sanctioning American Trust Investment Services’ broker John James Hoidas. Hoidas was assessed a deferred fine of $40,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for 18 months. He did not admit or deny the findings but consented to the sanctions and the following findings:
- Hoidas made unsuitable recommendations in speculative alternative investments to customers of his member firm, which were inconsistent with the customers’ investment profiles.
- Hoidas borrowed $10,000 from one of his firm’s customers without providing prior written notice or obtaining written approval from the firm. When he failed to repay the loan, the customer complained, leading to a settlement with the customer.
- Hoidas caused two member firms he was associated with to maintain incomplete books and records. He communicated with firm customers via text messages on his personal phone, which the firm had not approved as a permissible electronic communications channel, thus failing to capture or maintain these text message communications as required.
- While registered with another firm, Hoidas entered into a commission-sharing agreement with another firm’s registered representative, which was neither disclosed to nor approved by the firm. This action caused the firm to fail to comply with its recordkeeping obligations due to unauthorized and undisclosed compensation through the commission-sharing agreement.
If you lost money because of Hoiadas’s investment recommendations, please contact Banks Law Office.