According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Christhian Palacios (Palacios) has been subject to two customer complaints and four tax liens during the course of his career. Palacios is currently employed by Garden State Securities, Inc. (Garden State Securities). One of the customer complaints against Palacios concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning and unsuitable investments.
In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging their account was excessively traded and unsuitable from January 2009 until March 2016. The claim alleged $298,109 in damages and is currently pending.
In July 2016 Palacios disclosed a tax lien of $140,000. Tax liens can be sign that a broker may have a conflict of interest to recommend or engage in high risk trades and improper recommendations due to the need to obtain funds. FINRA discloses tax liens information because it is important for investors to know whether or not a broker can manage their own finances.
When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.
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.
Palacios entered the securities industry in 1998. Since, August 2008 Palacios has been registered with Garden States Securities out of the firm’s Hackensack, New Jersey office location.
At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to excessive trading and churning violations. Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.