Broker Investigation: Advisor Mark Gardner

shutterstock_178801073According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Mark Gardner (Gardner) has been the subject of at least nine customer complaints, one firm termination, and one regulatory action. Customers have filed complaints against Bell alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments among other claims. Most of these claims involve recommendations in equities.

Gardner entered the securities industry in 1977. Since 2008, Gardner has been associated with Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. until November 2008. From December 2010 until July 2012, Gardner was associated with Lake Forest Securities LLC. Currently, Gardner is associated with J.H. Darbie & Co., Inc.

In the regulatory action that was brought against Gardner, FINRA alleged that on or about November 5, 2008, Gardner executed three equity securities purchase transactions to open an investment account on behalf of a corporation without that corporation’s knowledge. FINRA found that Gardner accepted the purchase orders from a person who did not have authorization to act on behalf of the corporation. In addition, FINRA found that Gardner failed to verify whether the individual who placed the purchase orders had been granted authorization by the corporation. The transactions in question totaled $2,203,020.

All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.

The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Gardner is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases where their broker has acted inappropriately. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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