The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints and a FINRA enforcement action with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Michael Hebner (Hebner). According to BrokerCheck records, Hebner has been subject to five customer complaints and one employment termination for cause. The customer complaints against Hebner allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.
Hebner was terminated in January 2015 by Wunderlich Securities, Inc. on allegations that Hebner failed to follow firm procedures regarding the approval and retention of correspondence. The most recent claim was filed in January 2017 alleging Hebner made unsuitable recommendations from 2010 until 2014. The customer claims that the activity caused $429,000 in damages. The claim is currently pending.
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.
Hebner entered the securities industry in 1985. From March 2009 until October 2010, Hebner was registered with RBC Capital Markets Corporation. Thereafter, from October 2010 until February 2015, Hebner was associated with Wunderlich Securities. Finally, since February 2015 Hebner has been registered with IFS Securities out of the firm’s Flint, Michigan branch office location.
The number of customer complaints against Hebner 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 lawyers at Gana LLP represent investors who have suffered investment losses due to allegations of wrongdoing. 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.