The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Dennis Ayre (Ayre), currently employed by Hilltop Securities Inc. (Hilltop Securities) has been subject to at least five customer complaints during the course of his career. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Ayre’s customer complaints alleges that Ayre recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations of concentrations in energy securities and corporate debt among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.
In April 2020 a customer complained that Ayre violated the securities laws by alleging that Ayre, took excessive risk in the account in relation to the client’s stated objectives. The claim alleges $52,058 in damages and settled for $20,823.06.
In March 2020 a customer complained that Ayre violated the securities laws by alleging that Ayre, engaged in unsuitable excessive concentration and risk. The claim alleges $6,115,287 in damages and is currently pending.
In March 2020 a customer complained that Ayre violated the securities laws by alleging that Ayre, engaged in unsuitable excessive risk and strategy deviation. The claim alleges $1,472,671 in damages and 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. There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors. Advisors should not present these investment options to clients. There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client. First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors. The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.
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.
Ayre entered the securities industry in 2008. From September 2011 through March 2014 Ayre was associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated. From March 2014 until May 2017 Ayre was registered with Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. From April 2017 until August 2019 Ayre was associated with Integrated Advisors Network LLC. Finally since August 2019 Ayre has been associated with Hilltop Securities out of the firm’s Beverly Hills, California 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.