Our investment attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor William Ornstein (Ornstein) currently registered with The GMS Group, LLC. (GMS), alleging unsuitable investments, fraud, unauthorized trading, over-conentration, and material misrepresentations among other claims. According to brokercheck records Ornstein has been subject to nine customer complaints, one regulatory action, and two criminal matters.
In November 2015 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Ornstein made fraudulent sales and over-concentrated the account from 2011 through 2015. The complaint involves oil and gas related master limited partnership (MLP) investments and municipal debt securities. The customer is seeking $200,000 in damages. The claim is current pending.
Brokers in the financial industry have the fundamental responsibility to treat investors fairly. This obligation includes making only suitable investments for their client. The suitable analysis has certain requirements that must be met before the recommendation is made. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation for the investment based upon the broker’s and the firm’s investigation and due diligence. Common due diligence looks into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, the issuer, the likelihood of success or failure of the investment, and other relevant factors. Second, if there is a reasonable basis to recommend the product to investors the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives. These factors include the client’s age, investment experience, retirement status, long or short term goals, tax status, or any other relevant factor.
Ornstein entered the securities industry in 1976. Since October 2001 Ornstein has been associated with GMS out of the firm’s Boca Raton, Florida office location.
The number of events listed on Ornstein 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.
Gana Weinstein LLP’s securities fraud attorneys represent investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts due to claims of fraud and negligence. 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.