The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that Advisor Michael Lackwood (Lackwood), currently employed by Spring Delta Asset Management, LLC (Spring Delta) has been subject to at least one customer complaint and one employment termination for cause during the course of his career. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Lackwood’s customer complaint alleges that Lackwood recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including allegations involving risky and speculative securities, among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.
In May 2019, a customer complained that Lackwood violated the securities laws by alleging that Lackwood did not follow the customer’s instructions to sell. The complaint further alleged that Lackwood engaged in unsuitable investment advice, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud. Lastly, the complaint alleged that Lackwood engaged in misrepresentations related to risky and speculative securities. The claim settled in the amount of $115,000.
Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly. This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation. Another important obligation advisors have is to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client. There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors. Advisors should not present these investment options to clients. There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client. First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors. The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one. 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.