FINRA Sanctions Daniel Barthole Over Attempt to Privately Settle a Customer Complaint

shutterstock_188141822The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought an enforcement action (FINRA No. 2012034393401) against broker Daniel Barthole (Barthole) resulting in a monetary sanction and a suspension. In addition, according to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA, Barthole has been the subject of at least 2 customer complaints. The customer complaints against Barthole allege unsuitable investments, churning (excessive trading), misrepresentations, fraud, and unauthorized trading among other claims. The most recent complaint against Barthole alleged $227,632 in damages concerning unauthorized ETF trading and churning from February 2012 through September 2014. The claim was later withdrawn.

FINRA’s findings stated that Barthole consented to a finding that he together with two other brokers attempted to settle a customer complaint away from their brokerage firm by agreeing to pay $4,000 to a customer and by sending $1,500 in cash to the customer.

Barthole entered the securities industry in 2009. From April 2009 until February 2015, Barthole was associated with Woodstock Financial Group, Inc. Since February 2015, Barthole has been registered with National Securities Corporation out of the firm’s New York, New York 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 Barthole 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.

Our team of investment lawyers represent brokerage customers who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts by their advisors. 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.