The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Roman Reed (Reed). According to BrokerCheck records Reed has been subject to at least four customer complaints. The customer complaints against Reed allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.
In February 2015 Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) discharged Reed for cause stating that the reason related to the broker’s handling of a customer complaint. In April 2014 a customer filed a complaint alleging $1,153,803 in damage stemming from the Reed conducting unauthorized trades from March 2011 through January 2014.
Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.
The number of events listed on Reed brokercheck is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.