According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Duane Smith (Smith) has been the subject of at least two customer complaint and one employment separation. The customer complaints against Smith allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, negligence, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.
Smith entered the securities industry in 1995 and is both a licensed broker and a principal. From 1995, until September 2008, Smith was registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch). Upon termination from Merrill Lynch the firm filed a Uniform Termination form (Form U5) stating that the reason for the firm’s termination of Smith was due to allegations by the firm that Smith violated the firm’s policies by facilitating a client investment in an account that was held outside of Merrill Lynch, recorded information on blank authorization forms previously signed by a client, and failed to obtain supervisory approval for correspondence that he sent to multiple clients. Thereafter, in March 2014, Smith became associated with Neidger, Tuck, and Bruner, Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.
It is important for investors to know that all advisers have an obligation and responsibility to deal fairly with investors including making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.