The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Thomas Braley (Braley). According to BrokerCheck records Braley has been subject to at least four customer complaints. The customer complaints against Braley alleges securities law violations that including unauthorized trading , unsuitable investments, and misrepresentations among other claims.
In May 2016 a customer filed a complaint against Braley alleging that unsuitable investment recommendations were made, excessive trading, and misrepresentation from January 2013 to February 2016 that caused $180,000 in damages. The complaint is currently pending.
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. Advisors are also not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.
Braley entered the securities industry in 1984. From 1988 through December 2015, Braley was associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. Since December 2015, Braley has been associated with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC out of the firm’s Saginaw, Michigan office location.
The number of events listed on Braley brokercheck 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.
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.