Broker Spotlight: Ellwood Jones’ Investment Recommendations

shutterstock_103681238According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Ellwood Jones (Jones) has been the subject of at least four customer complaints. Customers have filed complaints against Bell alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations and false statements, among other claims. Some of these claims involve recommendations in private placements such as hedge funds, insurance products, and direct participation programs (DPPs).

Since 1997 Jones was associated with NFP Advisor Services (NFP) until March 2011. According to Jones’ BrokerCheck records, Jones has a number of other disclosed outside businesses including Capital Region International, LLC, A.B.R.C., and Synergex International Corporation.

One customer complaint against Jones alleged damages of $10,000,000 resulting from negligence and misrepresentations concerning hedge funds. In another action, the customer alleged misrepresentations in relation to the customer’s participation in a welfare benefit plan. Finally, in a third customer complaint the customer alleged misrepresentations in connection with the sale of insurance and other financial transactions involving alternative investments and limited partnership interests.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.

The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Jones is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases where their broker has acted inappropriately. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.