The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints and the termination by LPL Financial, LLC (LPL) of broker Alfred Talens (Talens). There is at least one customer complaint against Talens alleging that the broker made unsuitable investments in connection with the sale of a variable annuity. The customer also alleges that the broker sold an unregistered security and claimed damages of $500,000. The conduct allegedly engaged in by Talens is also referred to as “selling away” in the industry. It is unclear from public disclosures the nature of the outside business but Talens public disclosures disclose that the broker has outside business activities including Ascension Wealth Management, a DBA for insurance and tax preparation, and AWM Consulting.
In addition, there is one employment separation disclosed. LPL alleged that Talens violated firm policy regarding outside business activities and borrowed money from clients. Thereafter, FINRA sent Talens a request for documents and information which the broker refused to respond to. Accordingly, FINRA automatically barred Talens from the securities industry on July 7, 2015.
In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. However, even though when these incidents occur the brokerage firm claims ignorance of their advisor’s activities the firm is obligated under the FINRA rules to properly monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public. Selling away misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system. Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.