Broker Investigation: Jonathan Rankin

Jonathan Rankin (CRD#: 5149316) is a registered broker who has securities licenses to operate in 53 U.S. states and American territories. According to FINRA records, this broker has passed several exams, including the Series 7, Series 66, Series 9, and Series 10. Currently, FINRA listed Mr. Rankin as being employed at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD#:7691), where he has worked based in an office in Scottsdale, AZ since 2007.


Customer Disputes

There are two disclosures on the FINRA BrokerCheck report of registered investment advisor Jonathan Rankin. In both cases, the listed disclosures relate to complaints that were brought by customers against this broker. Further, in both cases, the allegations of the customers were later denied.


Customer Complaint #1

On January 21st, 2016, an investor brought a complaint against Jonathan Rankin, alleging that this securities broker made material misrepresentations and omitted material facts. In addition, the customer raised allegations that Mr. Rankin conducted unauthorized transactions on his brokerage account.

Brokers must get proper legal authority to execute any trades or transactions on behalf of their customers. Depending on whether or not the investment account is discretionary or nondiscretionary, the broker may be required to obtain authorizations for every individual transaction. Even if the broker has discretionary trading authority, they are still restricted to conducting transactions within certain pre-agreed boundaries.

In this case, the customer in question did not produce sufficient evidence to prove that Mr. Rankin was negligent or that he engaged in any type of fraud or misconduct. As such, the customer’s complaint of unauthorized trading was denied.


Customer Complaint #2

On November 8th, 2017, a second customer filed a complaint against Jonathan Rankin. According to this customer, Mr. Rankin was negligent in managing his brokerage account. More specifically, the customer alleged that Mr. Rankin made material misrepresentations and omitted material facts in the course of recommending certain variable annuity investments. Brokers have a professional duty to provide investors with information that is not materially misleading.

A variable annuity is a tax-deferred investment vehicle. They are considered to be long-term investments, and variable annuities carry some additional risk when compared to fixed annuities. When recommending variable annuities to investors, financial advisors must be sure that the product is appropriate for the individual investor’s need. While variable annuities can be a wise investment for certain investors, these financial products are certainly not for everyone.

However, in this case, as within the first case, the complaining investor did not produce sufficient evidence that Mr. Rankin did anything wrong. The customer’s complaint that Mr. Rankin engaged in misconduct when recommending variable annuities was denied.


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