According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker David Hackney (Hackney) has recently been permanently barred by the agency for failing to respond to requests for documents and information. In addition, the broker has been under investigation by the Illinois Securities Department concerning allegations that Hackney churned – a type of securities fraud – at least three accounts.
Hackney entered the securities industry in 1993. From March 2006 until February 2014, Hackney was associated with LPL Financial LLC (LPL). In February 2014, LPL discharged Hackney alleging that the broker conducted discretionary, otherwise known as unauthorized trades, in customers’ accounts that were excessive.
Investment churning is trading activity characterized by the purchasing and selling of securities including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and options that is excessive and serves no practical purpose for the investor. Brokers engage in churning solely to generate commissions without regard for the client’s interests. In order to establish a churning claim the investor must show that the trading was first excessive and second that the broker had control over the investment strategy. 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 the state of Illinois, one investor suffered $170,000 in losses while Hackney earned $120,000 in commissions from a retired couple due to the broker’s churning activity. Illinois also alleged that another two accounts were churned by Hackney. The regulator stated that these accounts had turnover ratios that exceeded 20 and cost-to-equity ratios exceeding 100% of the average value of the account.
In addition, to the regulatory actions Hackney has one customer complaint and two financial liens on his record. The number of complaints and regulatory actions against Hackney is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.
Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of securities churning. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.