According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Martin Noonan Jr. (Noonan), formerly associated with BMA Securities, LLC (BMA Securities), has been subject to at least one customer complaint, one regulatory action, and eight judgement or liens during his career. The complaint against Noonan concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.
In November 2018 a customer complained that Noonan violated the securities laws by alleging that Noonan engaged in sales practice violations related to account mismanagement or that the account representative engaged in unsuitable or excessive trading. The claim is currently pending and seeks $250,000 in damages.
In May 2020 FINRA barred Noonan after the broker consented to sanctions and to findings that he refused to produce information or documents requested by FINRA during an investigation that it began after reviewing a Dispute Resolution Statement of Claim filed alleging unsuitable and excessive trading in a client account. Accordingly, Noonan was automatically barred from the securities industry.
When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.
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 show 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.
Noonan entered the securities industry in 1998. From December 2013 until April 2020 Noonan was registered with BMA Securities out of the firm’s El Segundo, California office location.
At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to excessive trading and churning violations. 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.