May 6, 2020
On April 22, 2020, FINRA filed a Complaint against Integrity Brokerage Services, Inc. (IBS), a brokerage firm based in Oceanside, California, its owner and CEO Joshua Helmle, IBS registered representative Andrea Wood and former registered representative Marc Jaffe.
The main allegation in this Complaint is that Marc Jaffe has been associating with and engaging in securities business with IBS since February 2016 despite being statutorily disqualified. In December 2015, upon completion of a suspension resulting from separate FINRA disciplinary action, IBS filed an application seeking permission for Jaffe to associate with the firm despite his statutory disqualification. Although this application was denied, FINRA claims that Joshua Helmle, the owner and CEO of IBS, and IBS registered representative Andrea Wood, have permitted and enabled Jaffe to execute securities business since February 2016.
Jaffe was statutorily disqualified on August 26, 2015 upon FINRA’s approval of a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) that contained findings that he failed to disclose federal and state tax liens totaling approximately $923,000 on his Form U4. FINRA imposed a $15,000 fine and a suspension for 60 business days. Upon completing this suspension, IBS hired Jaffe and Wood to establish an IBS branch in Indianapolis. Wood and Jaffe had worked together at Jaffe Financial Services, Inc., a non-broker-dealer entity that Jaffe opened in 2004 to conduct his securities business. IBS subsequently filed a Form U4 seeking to register Jaffe as a General Securities Representative. FINRA denied this request.
The FINRA Complaint states that despite his statutory disqualification, Jaffe acted as a general securities representative by communicating with the public to gauge their interest in making investments, communicating with IBS customers to maintain their accounts, discussing the details of certain securities or investment vehicles, recommending the purchase or sale of securities through Wood with Helmle’s approval, and receiving compensation for securities transactions of IBS customers. Wood paid Jaffe about forty percent of her combined revenue from brokerage commissions and investment advisory fees through Woodgroup, a limited liability company she formed in 2015 as a vehicle for paying expenses of her securities business and receiving investment advisory fees.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck report, Jaffe has a long history of customer complaints and allegations of securities industry or firm rules violations that led to being discharged from member firms. Within the last ten years, Jaffe was associated with two firms in Indianapolis, Indiana—Gunnallen Financial, Inc. from October 2004 to March 2010 and Finance 500, Inc. from April 2010 to September 2015. Jaffe was discharged from Finance 500 for allegedly “receiv[ing] commissions from another registered representative in possible violation of FINRA Rule 2040 when that associate transferred commissions to Jaffe Financial Services, Inc. (JFS), the non-registered entity controlled by Jaffe through which he conducts business.” The firm also alleges in this report that Jaffe was not registered in states where his associate earned commissions that were paid to JFS.