J.J.B. Hilliard Advisor Michael Barnett Alleged to Have Recommended Unsuitable Energy Securities

shutterstock_188631644-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Michael Barnett (Barnett), employed by J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, LLC (JJB Hilliard), has been subject to six customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Barnett has been accused by a customer of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

The most recent claim was filed in June 2018 and alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, violation of Kentucky’s blue sky laws, and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act with respect to an over-concentration and losses in Breitburn Energy (BBEP) and that BBEP was unsuitable.  The claim alleges $42,791.95 in damages and is currently pending.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

Before recommending investments in oil and gas and commodities related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to understand the risks and prospects of the company.  Oil and gas and commodities related investments have been recommended by brokers under the assumption that commodities prices would continue to go up.  However, brokers who sell oil and gas and commodities products are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients.

The number of complaints against Barnett is unusual compared to his peers.  According to newsources, only about 7.3% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records among brokers employed from 2005 to 2015.  Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters.  However, studies have found that there are fraud hotspots such as certain parts of California, New York or Florida, where the rates of disclosure can reach 18% or higher.  Moreover, according to the New York Times, BrokerCheck may be becoming increasing inaccurate and understate broker misconduct as studies have shown that 96.9% of broker requests to clean their records of complaints are granted.

Barnett entered the securities industry in 2010.  From June 2010 until January 2012 Barnett was registered with Edward Jones.  Since January 2012 Barnett has been associated with JJB Hilliard out of the firm’s Marion, Illionis office location.

At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to inappropriate investments in oil and gas related securities.  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.