Former Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. broker William Winchester III Barred by FINRA

Raymond James & Associates Inc.

Former Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. broker William Winchester III (CRD# 4404327) was barred by FINRA. He was registered with Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc. in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 2020 to 2012 and prior to then with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 2012 to 2020, when he was terminated regarding “Failure to disclose a business loan arrangement and two personal loan arrangements with separate clients, including a promissory note with a client related to Financial Advisor’s role as executor of the client’s father’s estate.” 

In June 2020, the Tennessee Securities Division sanctioned him to pay a $45,000 civil and administrative penalty and fine as well as three years of heightened supervision after it would found that he “engaged in dishonest and unethical practices by failing to disclose to his firm, three loans with three different clients either initially or through annual compliance questionnaires.”

In April 2023, FINRA barred him after it was found that he borrowed more than $850,000 from his customers without notifying Raymond James or obtaining the firm’s prior written approval. The findings stated that he “never disclosed to his firm that he had borrowed money from his customers. Winchester also falsely answered “no” on annual questionnaires that asked, among other things, whether he had borrowed money from any customer. In addition, after one of Winchester’s customers passed away, he agreed to serve as a co-executor of the customer’s estate.” 

FINRA found that he borrowed money from the estate and signed a promissory note to the beneficiary of the estate, a Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. customer, to establish repayment terms for the funds he had borrowed from the estate. FINRA reported that “At the time Winchester entered into this promissory note, the firm prohibited its registered representatives from borrowing from customers. At the time Winchester was terminated from the firm, he was in the process of repaying the beneficiary the amounts borrowed pursuant to the terms of an agreement.” 

FINRA also found that he engaged in an undisclosed outside business activity (OBA) and he received $45,000 for his services as co-executor of his customer’s estate; he did not disclose that he was co-executor to Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. FINRA findings stated that he entered into settlement agreements with customers without notifying the Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. FINRA found the he “did not disclose the promissory note that he signed to the beneficiary of his deceased customer’s estate to the firm and also did not disclose a settlement agreement with one of his customers relating to $380,000 he had borrowed from the customer.”

William Winchester III Customer Complaints

He has been the subject of three customer complaints between 2018 and 2023, according to his CRD report:

November 2021. “Claimant alleges that FAs misrepresented that her grandfather, a client of the same FAs, had setup a trust account for her with the FAs as trustees and that she believes account had been setup in her name and that FAs misrepresented that it was a trust to hide their alleged conversion of funds from the account.” The customer sought $3 million in damages, and the case was settled for $62,500.

November 2021. “Customer alleges that advisor concealed the amount of funds deposited into her account from her grandfather, and later borrowed funds from customer’s account without customer’s knowledge. Activity period 03/2009 to 11/2021.” The case was settled for $160,000.

April 2018. “Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Negligence, Negligent Supervision, Suitability, Excessive Turnover, Breach of Contract, Negligent Hiring, Selling Away and Violations of FINRA Conduct Rules.” The customer sought $150,000 in damages, and the case was settled for $7,500.

Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by William Winchester III’s customers.

Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against brokers and brokerage firms for wrongdoing. If you have experienced investment losses, please call us at 888-840-1571 or complete our contact form for a free consultation. Erez Law is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies on a contingency fee basis.

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Author: Jeffrey Erez

The founder of Erez Law, Jeffrey Erez, focuses exclusively on securities arbitration and litigation. Mr. Erez passionately believes in representing aggrieved investors and obtaining justice for his clients through litigation.