According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Osbert Haynes (Haynes), currently employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw), has been subject to two customer complaints, one regulatory action, and six tax liens or judgments. Most of a Haynes’ customer complaints allege that Haynes made unsuitable recommendations.
In addition, Haynes is subject to large tax liens and civil judgments totaling tens of thousands of dollars. In September 2014 Haynes disclosed a civil judgment of over $19,000. The fact that a broker cannot manage his own personal finances is material information for a client to consider. In addition, an advisor with poor personal finances may be incentivized to sell unsuitable or high commission products that may be recommended to generate high profits for the advisor at the expense of the client.
In August 2017 a customer made allegations unsuitable recommendations and unauthorized trading from 2011 to 2012. The claim alleged $163,886 in damages and is currently pending.
Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. 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.
The number of complaints against Haynes are 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.
Haynes entered the securities industry in 1997. From April 2012 until June 2013 Haynes was registered with John Thomas Financial. Many of the other firms Haynes worked for have been expelled by FINRA including John Thomas Financial which was run by Anastasios “Tommy” Belesis who agreed to be banned from the securities industry when the SEC accused him of defrauding investors in two hedge funds. In addition, John Thomas faced allegations of penny-stock fraud by FINRA after the firm reaped more than $100 million in commissions over its six-year history before it closed in July. According to new sources trainees at the firm earned as little as $300 a week to pitch stocks with memorized scripts. Despite this history Laidlaw chose to hire Haynes in September 2013 out of the firm’s New York, New York 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.