Broker Investigation: Aegis Capital Financial Advisor Michael McDonald

shutterstock_128856874According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Michael McDonald (McDonald) has been the subject of at least 5 customer complaints. Customers have filed complaints against McDonald alleging securities law violations including claims of churning and excessive trading, unsuitable investments, excessive commissions, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud among other claims. In 2011, a customer complained that McDonald recommended a private placement leading to $450,000 in damages. In 2008, another customer also complained that McDonald recommended a private placement called Xyience, Inc which caused $450,000 in damages.

McDonald entered the securities industry in 1993. From November 2005, until February 2011, McDonald was registered with JHS Capital Advisors, Inc. Since February 2011, McDonald has been associated with Aegis Capital Corp. out of the firm’s Maitland Florida office location.

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 customer complaints against McDonald 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.

Gana LLP represents investors who have suffered investment losses due to broker wrongdoing, such as unsuitable investments. The majority of these claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.