The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Mark Wesley (Wesley) alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims. According to brokercheck records Wesley has been subject to six customer complaints. Some of the complaints involve direct participation products (DPPs), oil and gas private placements, variable annuities, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), and other alternative investments.
In June 2016, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) permitted Wesley to resign alleging that he was under suspension for compliance policy violations related to unauthorized trading, use of discretion in a non-discretionary account, supervision of staff and responding to supervision.
In addition, Wesley has been subject to five tax liens totaling millions of dollars. A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.
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.
Wesley entered the securities industry in 1994. Since that time Wesley was registered with Ameriprise until June 2016 out of the firm’s Independence, Ohio office location.
The number of events listed on Wesley 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.
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.