The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating advisor Bud McLaughlin Jr. (McLaughlin), currently employed by Century Securities Associates, Inc. (Century Securities) out of Chaska, Minnesota. According to a BrokerCheck report, McLaughlin has been subject to at least one customer dispute, one regulatory action, and one bankruptcy disclosure during the course of his career. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaint against McLaughlin alleges breach of fiduciary duty.
In February 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that from 2012 through 2015, McLaughlin breached his fiduciary duty and was negligent in his recommendation of an energy company causing $1,125,000 in damages. The claim was denied.
In August 2017 McLaughlin declared bankruptcy. This information has been found to be material for investors to have because an advisor who cannot manage his own finances is a relevant factor for investors to consider. In addition, a broker in financial distress may be influenced to recommend high commission products or strategies.
Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly. This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation. Another important obligation advisors have is to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client. There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors. Advisors should not present these investment options to clients. There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client. First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors. The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one. 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.
According to newsources, a study revealed that 7.3% of financial advisors had a customer complaint on their record when records from 2005 to 2015 were examined. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their BrokerCheck reports that include customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, terminations, and criminal cases. In addition, research has shown a disturbing pattern with troublesome brokers where brokers with high numbers of customer complaints are not kicked out of the industry but instead these brokers are sifted to lower quality brokerage firms with loose hiring practices and higher rates of customer complaints. These lower quality firms may average brokers with five times as many complaints as the industry average.
McLaughlin entered the securities industry in 1968. Since July 2001 McLaughlin has been registered with Century Securities out of the firm’s Chaska, Minnesota office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.