Greenwood broker banned for life from trading securities

Financial regulatory officials have sanctioned a Greenwood securities broker by permanently banning him from the industry.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, known as FINRA, says it barred Robert Hayes Hoffmann for failing to cooperate with an investigation into a customer complaint against him while he was registered with Woodbury Financial Services Inc. in Greenwood. Hoffmann was registered with Woodbury from July 2006 to March 2017. 

FINRA records show two pending customer complaints against Hoffmann, both of which are currently in arbitration. 

In January 2017, a customer alleged that Hoffmann had made unsuitable investment recommendations, unauthorized transactions and excessive trades. Alleged damages exceeded $3.2 million. That case went into arbitration in April. 

In October, FINRA requested that Hoffmann testify in the investigation. A few days later, Hoffmann’s attorney contacted FINRA to say that Hoffmann had received the request but would not be testifying.

Hoffmann’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation was a violation of FINRA rules, the organization said, and in response FINRA permanently barred him from the industry effective Nov. 16. The sanction means that Hoffmann can no longer associate with any FINRA member in any capacity.  

On Oct. 30, Hoffmann signed a FINRA document in which he agreed to the sanctions but without either admitting or denying FINRA’s findings. 

That letter identifies Hoffmann’s attorney as Adam G. Wentland of Theodora Oringher PC in Costa Mesa, California. Wentland did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday morning.

Woodbury is based in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota. Its corporate parent is Phoenix-based Advisors Group Inc. The group's communications manager declined to comment on Hoffman's exit from the company last year.

IBJ’s attempts to reach Hoffmann by phone were unsuccessful.

FINRA records also show a separate pending customer complaint from November. That complaint alleges that Hoffmann breached his fiduciary duty to the customer in various ways, including recommending unsuitable investments.

Another customer complaint from 2014 was settled for $48,000.

Hoffmann also faced a separate FINRA sanction last year. In September, FINRA suspended Hoffmann from the industry for three months for failing to disclose an unsatisfied $107,000 tax lien that the Internal Revenue Service filed against him. 

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