Broker James Lynn (Lynn) was recently terminated by his former employer Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (Voya). According BrokerCheck Voya alleged that Lynn provided misleading information to the firm during a complaint investigation. In addition to the termination, Lynn has been subject to six customer complaints, one bankruptcy and three judgments or tax liens. The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the customer complaints against Lynn.
Many of the complaints concern variable annuities or direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). The most recent complaint filed in May 2017 requested $115,000 in damages alleging that the investor claimed the that the REIT investments and the replacement of a variable annuity policy was unsuitable. The REITs were purchased in 2014 and 2015. The claim is currently pending.
All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds. For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed. However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. Further, investor often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment. In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.
In addition, the number of disclosures with respect to Lynn is high relative 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.
Lynn entered the securities industry in January 1998. From September 2006 until July 2011, Lynn was associated with Brookstone Securities, Inc. From July 2011 until June 2013, Lynn was associated with Capital Investment Group, Inc. From May 2013 until February 2017, Lynn was associated with Voya. Finally since February 2017 Lynn has been associated with IFS Securities out of the firm’s Greenville, South Carolina office location.
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.