FINRA Bars Broker Honetta Kao During Investigation Into Sales Practices

shutterstock_179921270The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Honetta Kao (Kao). According to BrokerCheck records Kao is subject to two customer complaints, one regulatory action, onr investigation, and one financial matter.

FINRA terminated Kao after the broker failed to respond to a letter request for information in August 2015. Prior to that time, in January 2015, FINRA opened an investigation into Kao alleging potential willful violations of securities fraud laws and FINRA rules. In addition, in April 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Kao mishandled the account and provided bad advice. The complaint is pending. Another client alleged in May 2013, that Kao engaged in unsuitable recommendations and unauthorized trading.

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 Kao’s 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.

Kao entered the securities industry in 2010. From March 2010 until October 2010, Kao was associated with Rockwell Securities LLC. From October 2010 until November 2010, Kao was associated with John Thomas Financial. From November 2010 until October 2012, Kao was associated with Buckman, Buckman & Reid, Inc. From October 2012 until January 2013, Kao was associated with Meyers Associates, L.P. (Meyers). From January 2013 until November 2014, Kao was associated with Caldwell International Securities. Finally, from October 2014 until April 2015, Kao was again associated with Meyers out of the firm’s Brooklyn, New York 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.