Finra bars IFS Securities executive linked to reported $10 million trading loss

Keith Wakefield did not testify in Finra investigation of 'trading improprieties' at IFS

Sep 26, 2019 @ 12:27 pm

By Bruce Kelly

The IFS Securities Inc. executive at the center of a bond trade that resulted in a reported $10 million loss for the firm has been barred from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.

Keith Wakefield, the former municipal securities principal at IFS Securities, was fired Aug. 9 amid allegations of "fraud" and "placing fictitious trades," according to his BrokerCheck report. The product in question was government debt.

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Finra began investigating Mr. Wakefield at that time for "among other things, possible trading improprieties at IFS," according to Finra's consent order dated Wednesday.

Mr. Wakefield "refused to appear for testimony," which violates industry rules and triggers Finra barring a broker or registered executive.

Mr. Wakefield agreed to being barred without admitting to or denying Finra's findings. His attorney, Jeff Eberhard, did not return a call to comment. A spokeswoman for IFS Securities, Juliann Kaiser, did not return a call to comment.

In August, IFS Securities reported to Finra and the Securities and Exchange Commission that the firm had "recently suffered substantial losses as a result of unauthorized securities transactions — not involving customers' assets — perpetrated by one of IFS' Securities most trusted senior employees," according to a statement from the company. News reports at the time said the loss was $10 million.

Since then, brokers and managers of IFS Securities have been looking for employment elsewhere in the wake of the trading loss. The firm's brokers and advisers are talking to other broker-dealers, and its management is jumping ship to another broker-dealer that is owned by the same executive and investor who owns IFS Securities, Alexys McKenzie.

IFS Securities has 160 financial advisers, according to its website. It also operates an advisory firm, IFS Advisory, which has $600.7 million in client assets, according to its Form ADV.

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