The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that Frank Venturelli has been subject to at least one customer complaint and two regulatory sanctions during his career. According to records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Venturelli’s customer complaint alleges that Venturelli engaged in unauthorized trading and recommended unsuitable investments. While the two regulatory actions brought against him state that he consented to sanctions of engaging in unsuitable trading in customers’ accounts and committed fraud.
In December 2020, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities initiated disciplinary action against Venturelli. They alleged that Venturelli engaged in an act, practice, or course of business which would operate as fraud or deceit upon another person. BrokerCheck records state that Venturelli engaged in a pattern of excessive, unsuitable, and unauthorized trading activity in the accounts of certain customers. Civil and administrative penalties in the amount of $120,000 were issued against Venturelli’s employer, First Standard Financial Company LLC.
In June 2019, FINRA initiated disciplinary action against Venturelli. They allege that Venturelli engaged in quantitatively unsuitable trading in customers’ accounts. The findings stated that Venturelli recommended the trading in customers’ accounts, and they followed his recommendations. These recommendations were excessive, unsuitable given the customers’ investment profiles, and were such that it was virtually possible for any customers to earn a profit. Venturelli’s trading of the accounts resulted in high turnover rates and significant losses. Venturelli’s customers suffered collective losses of $373,226 and paid $169,803 in commissions and fees. Venturelli neither admits nor denies these findings. As a result, FINRA suspended Venturelli in all capacities for eleven months and issued partial restitution, due to his limited ability to pay, in the amount of $30,000.
In March 2019, a customer complained that Ventruelli violated the securities laws by alleging that Ventruelli engaged in excessive trading and unsuitable investment practices. The claim alleges $50,000 in damages in is currently pending.
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 most 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.
Ventruelli entered the securities industry in 2014. From November 2011 through September 2019, Ventruelli was registered with First standard Financial Company LLC. From September 2019 through December 2019, Ventruelli was registered with Arive Capital Markets. Ventruelli is currently not affiliated with any broker-dealer.
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.