According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Joseph Rodriguez (Rodriguez), currently associated with Hennion & Walsh, Inc. (Hennion & Walsh), has been subject to four customer complaints. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Rodriguez has been accused by customers of unsuitable investments among other claims. Most of the claims appear to be related to municipal bonds or other bond related investments
In June 2017, a customer filed a complaint alleging that Rodriguez recommended certain investment grade municipal bonds between 2009 and 2012 that were unsuitable. The claim alleges $125,000 in damages and is currently pending. In May 2016 another customer filed a complaint alleging that there were unsuitable recommendations from 2013 and 2014. The claim alleged $250,000 in damages and settled. In October 2015 another customer filed a complaint alleging an unsuitable recommendation causing $56,390 in damages. The claim later settled.
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.
The number of complaints against Rodriguez are 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.
Rodriguez entered the securities industry in 1988. Since 1998 Rodriguez has been registered with Hennion & Walsh out of the firm’s Parsippany, New Jersey office location.
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.