Broker Spotlight: Churning Claims Against Advisor Jason Klabal

shutterstock_106111121According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Jason Klabal (Klabal) has been the subject of at least eight customer complaints six of which have been filed since 2014. The customer complaints against Klabal allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, engaged in churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.

Klabal entered the securities industry in 1997. From 1999 through October 2008, Klabal was associated with J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (JP Turner). Thereafter from October 2008, until January 2010, Klabal was registered with Mercer Capital LTD. From there, Klabal was associated with Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Inc from January 2010, until August 2011. Finally, Klabal became associated with Legend Securities, Inc. in August 2011.

Pace’s employment separation involved allegations by Global Arena Capital claiming that Pace allowed client information to be taken from the office by another person. The information was later returned to the firm.

The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Klabal 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.

In addition, almost all of the complaints against Klabal involve claims of churning. When brokers engage in churning the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.

The elements to establish a churning claim, which is considered a species of securities fraud, are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

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.