According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Robert Buffington (Buffington), formerly associated with Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis Capital), has been subject to at least four customer complaints during his career. Several of those complaints against Buffington concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning or excessive trading among other securities laws violations.
In March 2020 a customer complained that Buffington violated the securities laws by alleging that Buffington engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitability, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim is currently pending and seeks $642,224 in damages.
In January 2020 a customer complained that Buffington violated the securities laws by alleging that Buffington engaged in sales practice violations related to unsuitability, churning, common law fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim is currently pending.
In January 2020 a customer complained that Buffington violated the securities laws by alleging that Buffington engaged in sales practice violations from November 2018 through the date of filing related to unsuitability, churning, common law fraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim is currently pending.
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.
Buffington entered the securities industry in 2007. From March 2010 until October 2019 Buffington was registered with Aegis Capital out of the firm’s New York, New York 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.