According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker George Lincoln (Lincoln) has been the subject of at least three customer complaints, one regulatory action, and one employment separation. The customer complaints against Lincoln allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments among other claims.
Lincoln entered the securities industry in 1991. From November 2005, until January 2014, Lincoln was registered with CCO Investment Services Corp. (CCO Investment). In December 2013, CCO Investment filed a Uniform Termination form (Form U5) stating that the reason for the firm’s termination of Lincoln was due to a regulatory action by the state of Vermont alleging violations of the securities laws.
The state of Vermont’s action against Lincoln alleged that the broker altered material information of the books and records of his brokerage firm in order to suggest that his clients were more aggressive and risky investors than their actual circumstances and stated risk tolerances. According to the allegations, Lincoln made these alterations in order to concentrate his client’s investments in certain funds that were unsuitable.
The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Lincoln is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.
It is important for investors to know that all advisers have an obligation and 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 losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases where their broker has acted inappropriately. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.