Advisor Christopher Bennett Alleged to Have Recommended Unsuitable Energy Securities

shutterstock_114128113-300x238According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Christopher Bennett (Bennett), formerly employed by J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC (JJB Hilliard), has been subject to at least thirteen customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Bennett has been accused by multiple customers of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

In February 2019 Bennett was sanctioned by FINRA after the regulator made allegations that Bennett consented to the sanctions and findings that he exercised discretionary trading authority in the accounts of several customers without written authorization from the customers and without obtaining his member firm’s prior written acceptance of the accounts as discretionary.

In February 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Bennett violated the securities laws including the Securities Act of Kentucky, breach of fiduciary duty, and unsuitable investment recommendations causing $139,214 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

Before recommending investments in oil and gas and commodities related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to understand the risks and prospects of the company.  Oil and gas and commodities related investments have been recommended by brokers under the assumption that commodities prices would continue to go up.  However, brokers who sell oil and gas and commodities products are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients.

The number of complaints against Bennett is unusual compared to his peers.  According to newsources, only about 7.3% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records among brokers employed from 2005 to 2015.  Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters.  However, studies have found that there are fraud hotspots such as certain parts of California, New York or Florida, where the rates of disclosure can reach 18% or higher.  Moreover, according to the New York Times, BrokerCheck may be becoming increasing inaccurate and understate broker misconduct as studies have shown that 96.9% of broker requests to clean their records of complaints are granted.

Bennett entered the securities industry in 1995.  From 1995 until October 2018 Bennett was associated with JJB Hilliard out of the firm’s Louisville, Kentucky office location.

At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to inappropriate investments in oil and gas related securities.  Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation.  Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.