Broker Paul Porter Accused of Unauthorized Trading and Making Unsuitable Recommendations

shutterstock_53865739-300x199Financial advisor Paul Porter, currently employed at Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo), has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career. His most recent customer complaints allege unauthorized trading and unsuitability. All of Porter’s complaints have occurred at Wells Fargo – his most recent place of employment.  According to a BrokerCheck report, in 2018 Porter was accused of selling the client’s stock without her knowledge. This matter against him settled approximately $61,000.00. In 2012, another client accused porter of engaging in unauthorized trading. Then, in October 2008, another client accused porter of making unsuitable investments. This matter ultimately settled for $30,000.00.

Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior consent from the investor. All brokers, who do not have discretionary authority to trade an account, are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). Under the NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b), a broker is prohibited from trading in a non-discretionary customer account without prior written authorization from the customer. Unauthorized trading is a type of investment fraud because the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has found that disclosures of trades being made are essential and material to an investor. Unauthorized trading is often a gateway violation to other securities violations including churning, unsuitable investments, and excessive use of margin.

Furthermore, Brokers have an obligation to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Brokers should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that brokers must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The broker must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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.

Porter has over 19 years of experience as a broker. He first entered the securities industry in 2001. From 2001 through 2006, Porter was registered with Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. From 2006 through the present, Porter has been registered with Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC.

At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to suitability violations and unauthorized trading.  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.

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