Finra bars former Cetera broker

Veteran broker accumulated 27 customer disputes while at the firm

Jun 17, 2019 @ 2:56 pm

By Jeff Benjamin

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. has barred former Cetera Financial Group adviser George Merhoff after he failed to continue cooperating with an investigation into his alleged securities industry violations.

Mr. Merhoff spent more than 21 years in the brokerage industry and accumulated 34 broker disclosures, including 27 customer disputes, according to BrokerCheck.

Mr. Merhoff, who was based in Klamath Falls, Ore., could not be reached for comment, but his attorney said his client "moved on and does not plan on working in the securities industry anymore."

The attorney, Emil Ali of Carr Butterfield, added that Mr. Merhoff's decision to stop cooperating with Finra was related to "financial constraints" and that he did initially cooperate with the investigation related to charges that he negligently failed to ensure his clients understood the long-term implications of the investment strategies he used on behalf of some of them.

"The main concern for Mr. Merhoff was that there were financial considerations associated with his decision to work with Finra," Mr. Ali said. "He is accepting the fact that he didn't respond to some of their requests."

According to the Finra Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, Mr. Merhoff worked at Cetera from February 2012 through April 5, when he was fired for violating the firm's "policies and procedures by making undisclosed payments to a customer of the firm."

Cetera did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

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