According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Dana Hawkins (Hawkins), currently employed by Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus Financial) has been subject to three customer complaints. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Hawkins’ customer complaints allege that Hawkins made unsuitable recommendations in certain structured products.
Our firm has brought cases against brokers for misrepresenting the features of structured products or selling them as a bond alternative. Structured products are typically debt instruments where the payout is based on the underlying stock, equity index, currency, or any reference source. Many, but not all, structured products are advertised as having some principal protection component – meaning that the investor is guaranteed the return of some amount of their initial investment. However, studies have shown that structured products are often best used as a niche product for sophisticated investors employing complicated strategies. The typical investor cannot benefit from these products over traditional investments.
In February 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Hawkins violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Hawkins sold unsuitable investments and several other allegations associated from activity in late 2013 to early 2019. The customer alleged $253,757 in damages. The claim is currently pending.
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.
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.
Hawkins entered the securities industry in 2011. From March 2011 until June 2015 Hawkins was registered with J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. Since May 2015 Hawkins has been registered with Centaurus Financial out of the firm’s Lexington, South Carolina 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.