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FINRA Investigation Results in Career-Ending Decision for Broker Christopher Ariola


Ariola allegedly made unsuitable recommendations in high-risk gold and energy stocks to elderly investors.

In December 2016, a disciplinary proceeding by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) resulted in broker Christopher Ariola being permanently barred from the securities industry. This decision followed a FINRA investigation into Ariola’s termination from Bay Mutual due to the firm’s concerns over recommendations he made to firm customers that were not consistent with firm guidelines.

The investigation uncovered allegations of possible senior financial fraud in that he made unsuitable recommendations to four retirees with limited financial resources and who needed income from those resources. His reported recommendation that these unsophisticated investors concentrate their retirement assets in risky gold and energy stocks was inconsistent with their financial needs and objectives.

Although the FINRA Department of Enforcement served two separate notices to Ariola requesting his response to the findings, he failed to answer the requests, resulting in a default motion against him.

The motion states “Because of the egregious nature of Ariola’s suitability violations, he shall be barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity. He shall be ordered to pay $137,993.13 in restitution plus prejudgment interest.”

The action goes on to say, “There are no mitigating factors. Simply put, Ariola’s recommendations for gold and energy stocks exposed his customers to unwarranted investment risk. The appropriate sanction is a bar in all capacities.”

Ariola was registered with the following firms:

  • Financial Telesis Inc. in Mission Viejo, CA
  • Bay Mutual Financial, LLC in Santa Monica, CA
  • Wachovia Securities, LLC in St. Louis, MO
  • Prudential Securities, Inc. in New York, NY
  • Equity Trust Advisors, Inc. in Irvine, CA
  • Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. in Purchase, NY

In addition, Ariola conducted business as 401K Advisors, where he held the title of “Senior Investment Advisory Representative.”

If you enlisted the services of broker Christopher Ariola and have suffered losses as a result of this relationship, you may be able to recover some or all of your losses through securities arbitration. You can find out more about the allegations against him by reviewing his BrokerCheck Report, a complimentary service provided by FINRA.

Silver Law Group specializes in fighting for clients who have lost investments at the hands of dishonest brokers and financial advisors who have taken advantage of their positions. Our legal team has been representing clients in securities law arbitration cases and targets of investment fraud to help them recover lost funds and get a sense of justice. We operate on a contingency-fee basis, so our team does not profit unless we recover your funds. Contact our team today and tell us your story.

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