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Ex-Merrill Private Wealth Broker Sidelined for Pitching Off Funds

A once top-ranked Merrill Lynch private wealth broker who was fired two years ago over selling-away allegations has accepted a one-year industry ban and $10,000 fine over the same claims. 

Richard A. Hogan, a 30-year industry veteran who worked from a Merrill branch in San Francisco, accepted the penalty without admitting or denying the findings, according to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority enforcement letter posted Monday. 

Finra said that between October 2017 and August 2018, Hogan solicited three different customers to invest a total of $630,000 in Asia-based funds that were not offered on Merrill’s platform. He did so in violation of industry rules requiring written firm approval for private securities transactions and its catch-all Rule 2010 requiring brokers to observe “high standards.” 

Hogan also violated internal Merrill rules prohibiting brokers from co-investing in outside entities, Finra said. 

Hogan did not respond immediately at press time to a request for comment through LinkedIn. He has retired from the industry and runs a real estate investment company, according to an online brochure marketing him as a public speaker. 

At Merrill, he and a former partner co-led a team that had generated around $3 million to $4 million in revenue, sources said at the time of his termination. Their terminations were seen as another example at the time of the increasing compliance scrutiny on larger producers at major brokerage firms. 

Hogan had ranked in 2014, 2017 and 2018 as a Financial Times “Top 400 Financial Advisor” and as a Barron’s “Top 1,200 Advisor” from 2014 to 2018, according to his former Merrill biography. 

Merrill discharged Hogan in June 2020 over the same underlying claims in the Finra settlement, according to his BrokerCheck record. Merrill also reported on the U5 that Hogan failed “to adequately safeguard personal log-on credentials and to personally complete mandatory Firm training,” the record shows.

His BrokerCheck record also shows Merrill settled for $24,069 a complaint filed by a customer who alleged “selling Away from April 2011 to June 2020.” Hogan did not contribute to the settlement, according to the database. 

Hogan started his brokerage career at Salomon Brothers in New York in 1988. He left a decade later for Goldman Sachs, which he exited for a three month stint at brokerage MYCFO Securities, and landed at Merrill in 2001.

A Merrill spokesperson declined to comment beyond its termination filing.

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