The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) brought and enforcement action against broker John Jones (Jones) (FINRA No. 2013036960801) alleging that between January 2004 and December 2006, Jones engaged in unsuitable trading in a customer’s account by recommending purchases of three speculative investments inconsistent with the customer’s investment objectives and financial condition and resulting in an overconcentration in the customer’s account in speculative investments. FINRA determined that the recommendations were made without reasonable grounds by Jones for believing that they were suitable for the customer. Finally, FINRA found that Jones willfully failed to timely amend his Form U4 to disclose two tax liens.
In addition to FINRA’s latest regulatory action, Jones has been the subject of two customer disputes, one tax lien, one bankruptcy, and two other regulatory actions, and one employment separation. The customer complaints allege that Jones’ made misrepresentations in recommending private placements, made unsuitable investments and engaged in fraudulent activity. One of the other regulatory actions was by the state of Georgia found that Jones misrepresented private placements. The other regulatory action also involved the state of Georgia and customer complaints concerning Jones’ private placement sales.
Jones first became associated with a FINRA member in 1986. From December 2007 until February 2010, Jones was a registered representative of First Legacy Securities, LLC. Thereafter, from March 2010, until July 2015, Jones was associated with Moloney Securities Co., Inc.
FINRA alleged that Jones recommended that a customer who had a moderate risk tolerance and an investment objective of preservation of capital invest the majority of her liquid net worth in five speculative private placements securities. FINRA found that the customer’s investments represented more than 50% of her liquid net worth. FINRA found that such a concentration level were unsuitable in light of the customer’s investment objectives, financial situation, and needs.
All advisers have a fundamental responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.
Investors who have suffered investment losses due to churning activity may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors concerning securities violations in various products including private placement securities. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.