Raymond James Advisor Maria Hendershott Subject to Several Complaint Disclosures

shutterstock_160486019-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Maria Hendershott (Hendershott), currently employed by Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) has been subject to four customer complaints during her career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the complaints against Hendershott concern allegations of unsuitable investments and allegations of overconcentration.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Hendershott recommended investments that violated the securities laws including breach of contract, violation of provisions of The Texas State Securities Statutes, Ann. Tx Civil Statutes Art. 581-33, violation of The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act Bc. Code Ann. § 17.46 and Tex Bc. Code Ann. § 17.50, breach of fiduciary duty that took place from 01/15/2015 until 09/12/2016.  The customer alleges $500,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In October 2017 a customer complained that Hendershott recommended investments that violated the securities laws including during 06/30/2014 until 07/31/2015 claiming gross mismanagement of accounts, investor abuse, churning, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and violation of industry rules.  The customer claimed $100,000 in damages.  The case settled for $75,000.

Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly.  This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation.  Another important obligation advisors have is to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Advisors should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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.

According to newsources, a study revealed that 7.3% of financial advisors had a customer complaint on their record when records from 2005 to 2015 were examined.  Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their BrokerCheck reports that include customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, terminations, and criminal cases.  In addition, research has show a disturbing pattern with troublesome brokers where brokers with high numbers of customer complaints are not kicked out of the industry but instead these brokers are sifted to lower quality brokerage firms with loose hiring practices and higher rates of customer complaints.  These lower quality firms may average brokers with five times as many complaints as the industry average.

Hendershott entered the securities industry in 1976.  Since February 2006 Hendershott has been registered with Raymond James out of the firm’s Houston, Texas office location.

Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation.  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.