Articles Tagged with FSC

shutterstock_183010823The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Stanley Keyes (Keyes). According to BrokerCheck records Keyes is subject to 5 customer complaints, 1 regulatory action, and 2 employment separations. The customer complaints against Keyes allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, misrepresentations, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.

The most recent regulatory action was filed by FINRA in November 2010 and alleged that Keyes borrowed a total of $214,000 from customers and used that money to meet personal financial obligations. FINRA alleged that Keyes failed to disclose the existence of these loans to his firm. FINRA fined Keyes $5,000 and suspended the broker for three months. Prior to that FSC Securities Corporation terminated Keyes alleging that the broker had borrowed money from firm customers in violation of the firm’s policies.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. 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.

shutterstock_135103109According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Barry Hartman (Hartman) was terminated by the firm due to alleged violation of firm policies including the participation in undisclosed outside business activities and private securities transactions, known as “selling away” in the industry.

Hartman was registered with brokerage firm FSC Securities Corporation (FSC) from 2002 until March 2015, when the broker was terminated. During this time Hartman conducted his securities business through an entity called Rocky Mountain Financial, LLC. While the size and scope of Hartman’s activities is still under investigation, investors have come forward claiming that Hartman sold them promissory notes and warrants in a company called Invizeon Corporation.

Invizeon is a Montana based software business that develops software platforms and solutions for government and enterprise organizations. The software includes platforms to manage information from sensing and detection technologies. In recent years, Invizeon has acquired several businesses including Seafaring Security Services, Slipstream Resources, and Gaga Africa. Invizeon continues to raise capital through private placement regulation D offerings. Moreover, on those filings Hartman has been listed as an owner of Invizeon.

Investors continue to suffer substantial losses from recommended investments in the Behringer Harvard REIT Funds.  The Behringer Harvard REIT Funds including the Behringer Harvard Mid-Term Value Enhancement I, Behringer Harvard Short-Term Opportunity Fund I, and the Behringer Harvard REIT I  and II (Behringer REITs) have sometimes been sold to investors as safe, stable, income producing real estate investment trusts.  While the Behringer REITs were initially sold to investors for $10 per share, currently some of these REITs trade as low as approximately $2.00 on the secondary market.  Worse still, some of the funds no longer pay a dividend or investors receive only a fraction of what their advisor initially told their clients they could expect the investment to yield.

The Behringer REITs are speculative securities, non-traded, and offered only through a Regulation D private placement.  Unlike traditional registered mutual funds or publicly traded REITs that have a published daily Net Asset Value (NAV) and trade on a national stock exchange, the Behringer REITs raised money through private placement offerings and are illiquid securities.  In recent years, increased volatility in stocks has led to an increasing number of advisor recommendations to invest in non-traded REITs as a way to invest in a stable income producing investment.  Some non-traded REITs have even claimed to offer stable returns while the real estate market has undergone extreme volatility.  Brokers are often motivated to sell non-traded REITs to clients due to the large commissions that can be earned in the selling the Behringer REITs.

Investors are now bringing claims against the brokerage firms that sold them the Behringer REITs alleging that their advisor failed to disclose important risks of the REITs.  Some common risks that customers have alleged were not disclosed include failing to explain that Behringer REITs may not be liquidated for up to 8 to 12 years or more, that the redemption policy can be eliminated at any time, and that investor returns may not come from funds generated through operations but can include a return of investor capital.