As we have previously reported, according to BrokerCheck records financial advisor William Byrd (Byrd) had several customer complaints filed against him in connection with his management of client accounts. Byrd is currently employed by B.B. Graham & Company, Inc. (BB Graham) and now been subject to at least five customer complaints and one civil lien for $47,782.23. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Byrd’s customer complaints allege that Byrd recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.
In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Byrd violated the securities laws by engaging in, among other violations, unsuitable concentrated mutual fund transactions and products, and lacking any reasonable investment strategy. The claim alleges $300,000 and is currently pending.
In October 2018 a civil judgement was entered against Byrd. Large tax liens, civil judgement, or bankruptcy filings on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts. In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services.
Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly. This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation. Another important obligation advisors have is 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. Advisors should not present these investment options to clients. There are two screens that advisors 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 advisor 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.
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.
Byrd entered the securities industry in 1985. From 2001 through March 2016, Byrd was registered with TransAmerica Financial Advisors, Inc. From March 2016 through July 2016, Byrd was associated with Invest Financial Corporation. From September 2016 until July 2019 Byrd was associated with Capital Financial Services, Inc. Finally, since August 2019 Byrd has been registered with BB Graham out of the firm’s Tampa, Florida and Orange, California office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.