Alan Appelbaum Accused of Churning and Unsuitable Trading

shutterstock_168737270-300x168According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Alan Appelbaum (Appelbaum), currently associated with Aegis Capital Corp. (Aegis), has been subject three regulatory actions and at least thirteen customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Appelbaum concern various allegations of misconduct including churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments among other claims being made against the broker.

In September 2019 a customer complained that Appelbaum violated the securities laws by alleging violations of the securities laws including that from July 2015 through present Appelbaum engaged in unsuitable and unauthorized transactions. The claim does not have a specific damage figure and is currently pending.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Appelbaum violated the securities laws by alleging violations of the securities laws including that from July 2015 through August 2018 Appelbaum engaged in unsuitable recommendations to the client. The claim alleged $1.8 million in damages and 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.

Appelbaum entered the securities industry in 1976.  From June 2002 until July 2015 Appelbaum was registered with Herbert J. Sims & Co. Inc.  Finally, since July 2015 Appelbaum has been registered with Aegis 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.