Christopher Passero (Christopher John Passero CRD# 2517681) is a registered broker and investment advisor who is currently registered with Money Concepts Capital Corp (CRD#: 12963) of Hurricane, West Virginia. He was previously employed with Emissary Financial Group, Inc. (CRD#:44568) of Mentor, OH, and Money Concepts Capital Corp (CRD#:12963) of Palm Beach Gardens, FL. He has been in the industry since 1994.
Most brokers and investment advisors want their clients to do well and make money. They help by offering recommendations and guidance on the best courses of action. But if those clients lose money, most brokers aren’t authorized to help compensate them for losses.
While at Money Concepts Capital (“MCC,” 2006 through 2008) Passero recommended investments in a real estate investment trust, known as a REIT. In 2010, that REIT re-stated its value, reducing its share price and the amount of dividends paid to customers every month, with the final payments made in August of 2018. Following the dividends and distributions they received, many sustained losses.
After the reduction in payments, Passero began regularly subsidizing nine of these REIT clients through February of 2020. He made approximately 990 payments totaling $249,560 to these clients using a variety of methods including his own personal check. The purpose was to compensate them for their losses due to the REIT’s reduction in value and monthly payments.
MCC was unaware of these payments and only found out about them when a customer filed an arbitration claim.
FINRA prohibits brokers from sharing in their customers losses. Passero neither notified MCC of these payments to his clients, nor requested permission in writing as required. He also incorrectly stated in his compliance questionnaires that he did not share in any client losses, either directly or indirectly. Both were in violation of FINRA Rules 2150(c) and 2010 and MCC’s own internal policies.
Loaning Money To Customers
In addition, Passero also loaned $10,000 to another client who was facing a tax liability in May of 2015. He neither sought permission nor notified MCC to make this loan, nor discussed it on a regular compliance questionnaire in 2015. By doing so, Passero violated FINRA Rules 3240 and 2010.
FINRA then levied a $10,000 fine and a three-month suspension (5/2/2022 through 8/1/2022) in all capacities against Passero.
Did You Invest With Christopher Passero?
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