The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) maintains a public database, called BrokerCheck, which acts as a free tool for investors looking to research the backgrounds of FINRA registered personnel. BrokerCheck covers brokerage firms, brokers, investment adviser firms and representatives. Searches allow investors to draw upon filings by firms, regulators, and other investment professionals, to reveal licensing status and history, employment history, and any reported regulatory infraction, customer dispute, criminal actions, financial issues, and other related matters.
These black mark events, revealed by BrokerCheck, are known as “disclosure events” and are often viewed as red flags by investors and the industry. Advisers and brokers who have marred records with multiple events carry inherent regulatory risk. As a consequence, most of the elite broker dealers and advisory firms will shy away from hiring representatives with such backgrounds.
Enter Meyers Associates, L.P.
Meyers Associates describes itself as a “full-service investment banking and securities brokerage firm that focuses on building trusted partnerships with [their] clients, and throughout the investment community.” The New York based firm tailors financial solutions for high net worth individuals and helps corporate clients meet short and long term capital market needs.
According to FINRA, approximately twelve percent of registered representatives have some form of disclosure on their record–which makes it utterly shocking to learn that forty seven out of seventy five–nearly sixty-three percent–of the brokers employed by Meyers Associates have a marked-up history as revealed by BrokerCheck. Even more disturbingly, is the fact that of those forty seven brokers, they have an average of 4.5 disclosure events per broker.
Meyers Associates’ founder and CEO, Bruce Meyers, is one of many at the firm who have a record peppered with disclosure events. Mr. Meyers has ten on his record, of which six are regulatory and four are from customer complaints. Back in 2011, FINRA took action against him for failing to supervise employees who were expected to disclose documents to regulators. FINRA suspended him for four months from working as a principal and supervisor and fined him $35,000, while Mr. Meyers neither admitted nor denied the allegations. This was not Mr. Meyers’ only alleged regulatory violation. In 1991, BrokerCheck revealed that Mr. Meyers had another supervisory violation. In 2000, he was accused of failing to enforce the firm’s written procedures and was fined $10,000. In relation to the four customer complaints, Mr. Meyers was sued by investors for $2.4 million in damages, which he ultimately settled for a total of $240,000. Record searches for Meyers Associates’ brokers did not only reveal regulatory and customer based complaints, but also included a number of financial problems, including judgments, tax liens and paid settlements with credit card companies.
With FINRA making a concerted effort to keep and eye on brokers with a pattern of complaints and disclosures, it’s not surprise that FINRA is “very aware” of Meyers Associates, according to Michelle Ong, a spokeswoman for FINRA. Investors should always be wary of representatives who have done a disservice to their clients by abusing their power in making unsuitable recommendations, churning accounts, and otherwise taking advantage of their position.
The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors who are subject to broker misconduct. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.