The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Johnathan McHale (McHale). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 6 customer complaints, one employment separation for cause, and 6 judgments or liens that have been filed against McHale. The most recent customer complaint against McHale filed in April 2014 alleges that McHale breached his fiduciary duty, negligence, and misrepresentations in the handling of the customer’s account leading to $108,000 in damages. The claim was settled for $14,995. In August 2012, another client alleged that McHale engaged in unsuitable investments leading to $43,000 in damages. The claim was denied.
In May 2014, National Securities Corporation terminated McHale alleging that he violated the firm’s policy by using his personal email address for business correspondence. In addition, McHale has 6 judgements. One tax lien filed in March 2011 for $34,598. Substantial judgements and liens on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services. A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances
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.