The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against Fortune Financial Services, Inc. (Fortune Financial) broker Bruce Musselman (Musselman). According to BrokerCheck records, Musselman has been subject to nine customer complaints and one criminal regulatory action.
Most recently, in February 2013, customers alleged that Musselman recommended unsuitable investments, misrepresented securities, over-concentrated customer funds into aggressive investments, and excessively used margin. The dispute was settled at $14,900.
In August 2011, a customer alleged that from 2007 to 2009, Musselman recommended highly risky investments that were unsuitable and inappropriate to customer’s needs. The customer requested $80,000 in damages.
Brokers are required to advise suitable investments for the customer by following certain criteria. First, an advisor must have a reasonable basis for the recommendation of the product or service based upon the broker’s research 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.
Trading on margin occurs when the investor borrows funds from the brokerage firm to make investments. If the account value falls below the maintenance margin (minimum account balance) or the brokerage firm believes the securities are at risk at falling below, the firm can require investors to either deposit additional funds to the account or make a margin call.
The number of complaints against Musselman are unusual compared to his peers. According to newsources, only about 7.3% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records among brokers employed from 2005 to 2015. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters. However, studies have found that there are fraud hotspots such as certain parts of California, New York or Florida, where the rates of disclosure can reach 18% or higher. Moreover, according to the New York Times, BrokerCheck may be becoming increasing inaccurate and understate broker misconduct as studies have shown that 96.9% of broker requests to clean their records of complaints are granted.
Musselman has been in the securities industry for 20 years. From 2015 to 2017, Musselman was most previously registered with Fortune Financial. From 2013 to 2015, Musselman was registered with IFS Securities. From 2010 to 2013, Musselman was registered with Newbridge Securities Corporation. From 2009 until June 2010, Musselman was registered with Brewer Financial Services, Inc. – the firm was expelled from FINRA shortly after in March 2011. From 1996 to 2009, Musselman was registered with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. From 1996 to 2006, Musselman was registered with IDS Life Insurance Company. Musselman is currently not registered with any firm.
Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.