FINRA Bars Broker James Starks During Investigation Into Sales Practices

shutterstock_20354401The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker James Starks (Starks). According to BrokerCheck records Starks is subject to one regulatory action, two investigations, and one criminal matter.

FINRA terminated Starks after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in July 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Starks alleging potential willful violations of the FINRA rules. Prior to that time, in March 2014, FINRA opened another investigation into Starks alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules.

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 Starks 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.

Starks entered the securities industry in 2006. From April 2006 until August 2010, Starks was associated with E1 Asset Management, Inc. From August 2010 until June 2011, Starks was associated with PHD Capital. Finally, from June 2011 until April 2015, Starks was associated with Caldwell International Securities out of the firm’s Fischer, Texas office location.

The investment fraud attorneys at Gana LLP represent investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. 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.