If you can beat 'em, join 'em: Former Finra target now running for board

Carreno mounting campaign for small-firm seat; won enforcement action filed against him by SRO

May 23, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

By Dan Jamieson

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Kevin Carreno, a Florida securities attorney who claimed officials at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. killed his chance to become Florida's top securities regulator, is mounting a run for the Finra board.

Mr. Carreno claimed he was about to be appointed commissioner of Florida's Office of Financial Regulation in March 2009 — until Finra sent him a Wells notice informing him of a potential enforcement action.

A Finra hearing panel , however, ultimately dismissed all the charges against the attorney by Finra investigators.

Mr. Carreno maintains that the enforcement case stemmed from an animus that developed between him and some Finra officials over his earlier, rigorous defense of a broker-dealer client.

Could he effectively serve on the board of the organization he blames for a malicious prosecution?

"I always got along" with Finra staff, said Mr. Carreno, who is part owner and general counsel of International Assets Advisory LLC in Orlando.

"I believe in basic fairness," he said. "The real task is persuading some of these public governors that some of these regulatory initiatives will really impact business."

Finra spokeswoman Nancy Condon declined to comment on Mr. Carreno's campaign.

Mr. Carreno, Stephen Kohn, president of Stephen A. Kohn & Associates Ltd., and Dock David Treece, a partner at Treece Financial Services Corp., are running for one of the three small-firm seats on the 22-person board.

The small-firm seat became available earlier this month when Finra board member Joel Blumenschein, president of Freedom Investors Corp., resigned after settling failure-to-supervise charges brought by Finra enforcers last September. Mr. Blumenschein's term was due to expire in August.

Potential candidates for the vacant seat have to collect signatures from 3% of the 4,059 small firms registered with Finra in order to get on the ballot. The deadline for submitting petitions is June 25. Ballots will go out in July and votes will be counted at Finra's annual meeting Aug. 13.

Mr. Carreno doesn't think his own run-in with Finra will hurt his chances. In fact, he's using it to hustle up signatures.

"I have fought Finra in an enforcement action … and won," he says in a campaign e-mail to member firms.


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