According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Michael Polyakov (Polyakov) has been subject to three customer complaints and eight financial disclosures. Polyakov is currently employed by Westpark Capital, Inc. (Westpark Capital). Many of the customer complaints against Polyakov concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments.
In January 2013 a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments, churning, and excessive trading. The claim alleged $157,178 in damages and settled.
In March 2010 a customer filed a complaint alleging churning, unauthorized trades, and unsuitable investments claiming $250,000 in damages. The complaint was settled.
In addition, Polyakov has eight financial disclosures concerning debt compromises. 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.
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.
Polyakov entered the securities industry in 1981. From December 2010 until February 2012, Polyakov was registered with International Assets Advisory, LLC. From February 2012 until November 2015 Polyakov was registered with Revere Securities LLC. Finally since January 2016 Polyakov has been associated with Westpark Capital out of the firm’s Boca Raton, Florida 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.