According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Katherine Nishnic (Nishnic), currently associated with Centaurus Financial, Inc. (Centaurus), has been subject to at least eight customer complaints during her career. The majority of the customer complaints against Nishnic concern allegations relating to unsuitable recommendations in structured products. The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently representing investors, including Centaurus investors, who were surprised to find out that the “bonds” that were recommended by their advisors have almost completely stopped paying interest while plummeting in value.
What many investors in this situation did not realize was that they were not sold bonds at all but instead complex structured products that go by a variety of names including steepener notes, adjustable rate market notes, spread linked notes, or structured notes. Regulators have already stated that it is improper to sell these investments as a fixed income substitute or to compare them to bonds in terms of producing a revenue stream. However, in our firm’s experience it appears that many brokers have been selling structured products as bond alternatives.
Structured products range in risk from benign to extreme. However, most structured products produce inferior risk/return profiles than ordinary debt or equity instruments because the brokerage firms that issue these products seek to profit from the spread between the payment to investors and the amount of money the brokerage firm can make from the issuance. When dealing with complex structured products most investors will lack the ability to understand the merits of investments nor are they appropriate for investors seeking a fixed or reliable income and have a desire for preservation of capital.