FINRA fines and suspends broker over testing violation

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined and suspended Christopher Perillo, a former municipal securities representative for Academy Securities, for accessing study materials while taking the Series 52 exam. 

Perillo agreed to pay $5,000 and be suspended from the industry, without either admitting or denying FINRA’s findings that he violated Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Rule G-3 on dealer continuing education requirements on Oct. 22, 2022.

“Prior to beginning the examination, Perillo attested that he had reviewed and would abide by MSRB Rule G-3(f) and the examination rules of conduct,” FINRA said in the settlement agreement. “However, during a lengthy unscheduled break, Perillo possessed and had access to his study materials located in the test center restroom.”  

The Series 52 Municipal Securities Representative exam includes 75 questions. Candidates are given two-and-a-half hours to complete the test with a passing scored pegged at 70%.  

Rule G-3(f) governs the rules of conduct while taking a test. The violation carries a $5,000 fine and an 18-month suspension from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities. 

Perillo also violated FINRA Rule 2010 which “requires that associated persons, in the conduct of their business, observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.”

The violations were referred to FINRA by Prometric Test Center, the testing company that proctors MSRB and FINRA qualification exams.

The fine is due and payable either “immediately upon re-association with a member firm, or prior to any application or request for relief from any statutory disqualification resulting from this or any other event or proceeding, whichever is earlier.”  

Perillo came into the securities industry when he joined Academy Securities in June 2022. His association with the firm lasted until Feb. 26, 2024, when Academy filed a Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Registration, stating that he had voluntarily terminated his association. 

Even though Perillo is not currently associated with a FINRA member, he remains subject to its bylaws. By signing the AWC he waives his right for an appeal along with any right to claim bias or prejudgment.

FINRA records show that Perillo had passed both the Series 52 and the introductore Securities Industry Essentials, or SIE.

FINRA’s employment records also show that he previously held a position as a “relationship banker” at KeyBank and serves in the New York Army National Guard.

Like all such agreements, the settlement is still subject to acceptance by FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council.   

Academy Securities was not involved in the disciplinary action, but provided a statement when reached for comment.

“Christopher Perillo is no longer an employee of Academy Securities and has not been for some time,” a spokesman for the firm said. “He was initially added to the team in support of Academy’s mission to hire and train military veterans so they can transition towards a career in financial services.”

Perillo could not be reached for comment.

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