Broker Tom Parks (Parks) has been subject to a massive number of customer complaints alleging many millions in damages. Parks was associated with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) until April 2016. According BrokerCheck the customer complaints largely involve claims of unsuitable investments in oil and gas, variable annuities, and REITs. In particular, many of the complaints mention master limited partnership (MLPs). In total, 23 customers have brought complaints involving Parks’ actions. In addition, Ameriprise terminated Park stating that Parks was permitted to resign while the broker was on heightened supervision for violations of company policy related to suitability, client disclosure, and outgoing correspondence issues. The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to investigate the customer complaints against Parks.
Our clients tell us similar stories that their advisors hyped MLPs and other oil and gas investments as high yielding investments without significant discussion of risk. In a recent Associated Press article, common stories of how investors are pitched by their financial advisors on oil and gas private placements were reported on. Often times these products are pitched as ways to ride the boom in U.S. oil and gas production and receive steady streams of income.
Brokers that have recommended MLPs to investors may have made unsuitable recommendations based upon the yields of these investments rather than the risk to principal. Over the past year MLPs have been hammered due to weaknesses in oil and gas and commodities markets.