Customer Complaints Involving Alternative Investments Against Broker Robert Cannon

shutterstock_182371613The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Robert Cannon (Cannon).  According to BrokerCheck records Cannon has been subject to at least four customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Cannon alleges securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.

Many of the complaints involve direct participation products (DPPs) and private placements including oil and gas partnerships, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other alternative investments.  In a FINRA regulatory action Van Patter was found to have onverconcentrated an investor in alternative investments.

Our firm has represented many clients in these types of products.  All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed.  However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them.  Further, investor often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment.  In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.

According to a recent study conducted by the Securities Litigation and Consulting Group entitled “How Widespread and Predictable is Stock Broker Misconduct?” the incidents of investor harm at Cannon’s former brokerage firm Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus) is extraordinarily high.  The study ranked Centaurus as the fourth worst brokerage firm finding that brokers at the firm had over a 27% misconduct rate.  The study stated that investors should stay away from Centaurus “Given their coworkers’ disclosure record as of 2014, 83.7% of the brokers at these six firms would be in the highest risk quintile as defined in the FINRA study and should be avoided by investors. The BrokerCheck reports for most of the brokers at these six firms should prominently display a skull and crossbones warning.”

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.

Cannon entered the securities industry in 1996.  From March 2001 through January 2012 through November 2012, Cannon was associated with Pacific West Securities, Inc.  From January 2012 until May 2015, Cannon was associated with brokerage firm Centaurus.

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.