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Nikolay Zotenko Suspended by FINRA

Jun 10, 2022 AWC

Nikolay Zotenko (CRD #: 6334022), a broker formerly registered with Morgan Stanley, has been suspended from FINRA, according to his BrokerCheck record, accessed on June 3, 2022. Read on if you have questions about Nikolay Zotenko’s conduct as a broker.

Suspension from FINRA

According to an Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) agreement filed May 13, 2022, Nikolay Zotenko allegedly sent unauthorized communications to potential clients while employed by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

The AWC alleges that, between January 19 and February 3, 2021, Nikolay Zotenko sent emails to prospective clients regarding a private placement investment opportunity. The AWC alleges that these emails advertised an “Exclusive Venture Capital Investment Opportunity. The communications allegedly contained misleading and unwarranted statements and failed to provide a sound and balanced basis for investors to evaluate the investment.

These emails allegedly claimed that the unnamed investment was exclusive to Morgan Stanley and “typically closed to new investors,” and generated returns that “far exceeded the industry average” from the investment’s portfolio companies.

On February 1, he allegedly sought firm approval for the communications and was denied due to the emails containing promissory statements. Nikolay Zotenko allegedly continued to send emails after the denial over the next two days.

The AWC states Morgan Stanley’s internal system allowed brokers to mass-email customers but required disclosure and approval for emails sent to more than 26 addresses within a 30-day period. Nikolay Zotenko allegedly circumvented this supervisory system by sending emails in batches of 25 and falsely indicating in the internal system that he did not intend for his campaign to reach more than 25 customers.

Nikolay Zotenko also allegedly used a colleague’s name, with permission but without the colleague’s knowledge of the false information registered in the firm’s system, to send many of these emails.

The AWC concludes that these allegations violate FINRA Rules 2210(b)(1)(A), (d)(1)(A) and (B); and FINRA Rule 2010.

FINRA Rule 2210 and 2010

FINRA Rule 2210 concerns how FINRA members communicate with the public:

  • Rule 2210(b)(1)(A) requires that all retail communications be approved by a registered supervisor.
  • Rule 2210(d)(1)(A) requires all retail communications to be based on principles of fair dealing and good faith, providing a sound basis for investors to evaluate the facts.
  • Rule 2210(d)(1)(B) bans the use of false, exaggerated, or otherwise misleading or promissory statements in retail communications.

Violations of many FINRA rules also violate FINRA Rule 2010, which holds brokers to high standards of professional honor and ethical conduct.

Sanctions

Nikolay Zotenko consented to the following sanctions:

  • $10,000 fine
  • One-year suspension

His suspension began on May 16, 2022, and will end on May 15, 2023.

You can read the full AWC here.

Discharge from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

On April 26, 2021, Nikolay Zotenko was fired from Morgan Stanley following alleged concerns that he emailed many potential clients about an investment opportunity after the content of the email had been explicitly not approved by the firm, and that he took additional steps to avoid further review of the email by the firm.

Background Information

Nikolay Zotenko has passed the following exams:

  • Series 65 - Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination
  • Series 63 - Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination
  • SIE - Securities Industry Essentials Examination
  • Series 7 - General Securities Representative Examination

He previously worked for Morgan Stanley (CRD#:149777).

Kurta Law Can Help

If you worked with Nikolay Zotenko and you have concerns about your investments, please contact us today at 877-600-0098 or info@kurtalawfirm.com for a free consultation.

For over 20 years, Kurta Law has advocated on behalf of investors who want to recover their investment losses from brokers and brokerage firms. Kurta Law is a nationally recognized law firm and exclusively represents investors against brokers and brokerage firms on a contingency basis. This means that the firm only earns a fee if our securities attorneys recover money on your behalf.