Broker William Campbell, currently employed at David Lerner Associates, Inc., (David Lerner) has been subject to at least four customer complaints during the course of his career. All four complaints allege Campbell of making unsuitable trading recommendations.
According to a BrokerCheck report, in August 2020, a customer made allegations against Campbell for unsuitability and sought approximately $90,000 in damages. Furthermore, in June 2019 another customer alleged that Campbell made unsuitable trading recommendations. The Claimant in this case is seeking damages in the amount of $120,000 and the claims involve a private placement.
Recently, our firm has received customer complaints concerning the sale of private placements being underwritten and offered by David Lerner in Energy 11 and Energy Resources 12 oil & gas partnerships. These funds have cut distributions and appear to have lost a substantial amount of investor capital.
Energy 11 was formed to enable investors to invest in oil and gas properties located onshore in the United States. The funds’ stated primary objectives are to acquire producing and non-producing oil and gas properties with development potential, and to enhance the value of those properties through drilling and other development activities. The fund plans to after five to seven years to engage in a liquidity transaction in which they will sell properties and distribute the net sales proceeds to investors, merge with another entity or list common units on a national securities exchange.
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.
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 shown 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.
Campbell entered the securities industry in 1992. From 1992 through 1993, Campbell was registered with Pruco Securities Corporation. From 2000 through 2002, Campbell was registered with Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC. Additionally, from 2000 through 2002, Campbell was registered with Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., Inc. Campbell has been registered at David Lerner Associates, Inc since October 2002.
At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to suitability 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.