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May 20, 2024

Avon man who founded autism-focused investment firm loses certification; barred from acting as broker/adviser

Contributed |

The founder of a financial planning firm in Farmington that specialized in serving individuals with autism has been permanently barred from the organization that issues financial planner certifications following an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Board of Standards Inc. announced the sanction against Andrew M. Komarow, an Avon resident, after he failed to respond to an investigation initiated by enforcement counsel concerning his November 2022 termination from a firm. 

Komarow relinquished his CFP certification and is permanently barred from applying for or obtaining the certification in the future.

The sanction follows an SEC case against Komarow in which authorities alleged he traded $6.9 million of funds that he did not have as part of a “free-riding” scheme.

"Free-riding" is a fraudulent practice used by securities traders to exploit the "immediate access" credit extended by broker-dealers in advance of incoming deposits. According to authorities, Komarow would transfer funds into his brokerage accounts from bank accounts he knew lacked sufficient funds.

In one example, Komarow told an employee via Microsoft Teams: “Lie, whatever you have to do, to get those trades placed,” the SEC complaint states.

The alleged scheme occurred between Oct. 13, 2022 and Jan. 30, 2023. It involved deposits into 11 of his brokerage accounts at four broker-dealers, which were later reversed due to insufficient funds. But before the transfers were reversed, Komarow used the “immediate access” period to engage in speculative securities trading, according to court documents.

As a result of his speculative securities trades, Komarow made at least $615,031 in profits, authorities said. Meanwhile, the four broker-dealers holding his brokerage accounts lost at least $3.3 million, the documents state.

Komarow was fired from two financial services firms prior to the SEC complaint, which was filed on Dec. 8, 2023.

On Feb. 20, the SEC ordered Komarow to be barred from acting as a broker or investment adviser. A federal judge granted a motion for consent judgment against Komarow, without Komarow admitting to or denying the SEC’s findings.

Komarow was previously highlighted in a CT Mirror article about Connecticut’s disability workforce “pipeline.”

A website for the firm he founded, Planning Across the Spectrum, is no longer active.

According to an online description, the firm specialized in helping individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families pursue financial independence.

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