FINRA Bars former Wells Fargo Broker John Leonard

shutterstock_176198786-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against John Leonard (Leonard), working out of Toledo, Ohio. Leonard allegedly failed to request termination of a previous suspension within three months resulting in an automatic bar from association with any FINRA member in all capacities.

According to BrokerCheck records, Leonard had been suspended from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity for allegedly failing to respond to a FINRA request for information. Leonard was barred by FINRA after he failed to request termination of this suspension.

Leonard has been named in five customer complaints and one that is still pending.

The most recent complaint was in June 2016 and alleged unsuitable recommendations. This dispute settled for $25,000. Another complaint in June 2016 alleged unsuitable investments. This dispute settled for $24,000. In October 2016, a different client alleged unsuitable investments. This dispute settled for $60,000. In September 2016, another customer alleged unsuitable investment recommendation were made in 2013 and 2014. This dispute settled for $50,000.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors, including making suitable investment recommendations. There are three primary brokerage responsibilities outlined by the suitability rule:

  • To perform reasonable-basis suitability analysis
    • The adviser must investigate the investment properties (benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors) in order to have a reasonable basis when making recommendations of products or securities suitable to his or her clients.
  • To perform customer-specific suitability analysis
    • The broker must understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.
  • To perform quantitative suitability analysis
    • All brokers and broker-dealers must have a reasonable basis for recommending a series of transactions, even if suitable when viewed in isolation, are not excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together in light of the customer’s objectives.

Leonard began his securities career at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. in 1991 and moved to Wells Fargo Advisors in January 2008 where he stayed until December 2016.

Investors who have suffered investment losses due to unsuitable investment activity by brokers may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana LLP are experienced in representing investors concerning securities violations in various products including private placement securities. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.