The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker William Carlton (Carlton). According to BrokerCheck records Carlton has been the subject of at least five customer complaints and two judgments or liens. The customer complaints against Carlton allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations among other claims.
The most recent customer complaint filed in October 2015 alleged unsuitable recommendations and concentrated positions in mutual funds, ETFs, and equity investments alleging losses of $1,264,355 in damages. The claim is still pending. Another claim was filed in January 2015 and alleged unsuitable concentrated positions in real estate limited partnerships and oil and gas stocks. In addition, Carlton has a tax lien of $132,060 that was filed in October 2014. Brokers are required to disclose financial matters that impact their personal finances. Substantial judgements and liens on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services. A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.
Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.
The number of customer complaints against Carlton is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.
Carlton entered the securities industry in December 1983. Since September 2007 Carlton has been registered with UBS Financial Services Inc. out of the firm’s Vienna, Virginia office locations.
The investment fraud attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP represent investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. The majority of these claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.