Articles Tagged with Morgan Stanley

shutterstock_188631644-300x225Thomas Howes (Howes), working out of Bethesda, MD, has been subject to five customer complaints. According to BrokerCheck records, Howes has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice and trades.

In one complaint from 2012, customers alleged that from August 2006 until July 2011, there were excessive and unsuitable trades made in their brokerage accounts and a variable annuity that resulted in losses. They alleged damages of $300,500 and the dispute was settled for $130,000.

In another complaint, customers alleged the transactions in their account were not suitable and were awarded a settlement amount of $229,369.99.

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shutterstock_188606033-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Lewis Robinson (Robinson), currently associated with BB&T Securities, LLC (BB&T), has been subject to 10 customer complaints, one regulatory action, and one employment separation for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Robinson has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice among other claims.

In August 2017, FINRA found that Robinson settled a customer’s complaint by issuing three checks in the total amount of $12,203.23 to the customer’s wife without the knowledge of his brokerage firm.  FINRA determined that the customer complained on three separate occasions about the amount of commissions that he charged.

In August 2015, Morgan Stanley terminated Robinson for providing unapproved fee reimbursements to a client.

The most recent customer complaint against Robinson was filed in July 2016 and alleged unsuitable investments between 2013 and 2016 causing $104,000 in damages.  The claim was settled for $29,060.

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shutterstock_36343294-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor David Capin (Capin), currently associated with Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. (Summit), has been subject to nine customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Capin has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice, misrepresentations, and excessive trading among other claims.

In February 2017 Capin was permitted to resign from Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James) after he admitted to the firm that he had not discussed trades with certain customers prior to the time orders were entered.  This claim appears to concern unauthorized trading.

Two customers have filed claims concerning Capin in 2017 and both have been settled.  Another customer filed a claim in 2016 concerning unsuitable investments and that claim was denied by the firm.

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.

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shutterstock_123758422-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Peter Doyle (Doyle), formerly associated with Morgan Stanley, has been subject to three customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Doyle has been accused by customers of unsuitable investment advice and unauthorized trading among other claims.

Doyle was barred by FINRA in July 2017 when he refused to appear for FINRA testimony in connection with its investigation into the conduct that led to his termination from Morgan Stanley.  Morgan Stanley had terminated Doyle in June 2016 after it made allegations involving adherence to industry rules and use of trading discretion.  The most recent complaint filed in February 2017 alleged unsuitable recommendations from June 2008 through June 2016.  The claim settled for $600,000.

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.

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shutterstock_186772637-300x199Gana LLP is examining claims made by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission against broker Michael Siva (Siva). According to BrokerCheck records, Siva and five other individuals allegedly engaged in securities fraud and profited by over $5 million by trading on insider information about dozens of impending corporate mergers, acquisitions, and tender offers.

Siva entered the industry in 1996. He is currently employed at Morgan Stanley and has worked there for 8 years. Between October 2014 and April 2017, Siva allegedly used inside information to make profitable trades for his clients, earning commissions for himself in the process. Mr. Siva also allegedly traded on behalf of himself and his wife based on two of the tips he received.

Securities fraud (a/k/a investment fraud) stems from a variety of deceptive practice in the stock or commodities markets. Securities fraud stems from intentionally false information or the omission of material information that induces an investor to make purchase or sales decisions. Securities fraud violates state and federal securities laws. Securities fraud encompass a wide range of illegal activity, including violations of section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, insider trading, and other illicit activity on trading floors of stock and commodities exchanges. Insider trading is the illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential information.

shutterstock_62862913-259x300The investment fraud lawyers of Gana LLP are examining multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against financial advisor Gregory Pease (Pease). According to BrokerCheck, Pease has a multitude of disclosures concerning: churning, excessive trading, unauthorized trading, unsuitability, and breach of fiduciary duty.

The most recent customer complaint filed against Pease was filed in November 2016. The complaint alleged that during the period between 1998 and 2015, Pease made unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentation, and omission of material facts regarding mutual funds. The alleged damages are unspecified and the case is still pending.

Another customer complaint against Pease was filed in March 2015 and alleged that Pease misrepresented the client’s financial objectives. According the customer, the amount of trades and fees that occurred in the accounts did not properly align with the client’s desires. The alleged damages were worth $13,266.81 and the case was later settled for $10,297.88.

shutterstock_183554579-300x200Our law firm, Gana LLP, is investigating claims made by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Alan Rose. The customer complaints allege that Rose engaged in securities law violations, including making unsuitable investments in clients’ accounts. The most recent customer complaint against the broker was filed in January 2017. The customer alleges during the period of 2013 – 2016, Rose over-concentrated their portfolio in unsuitable investments. The alleged damages are worth over $100,000. The case is currently pending.

Another complaint was filed against Rose in May 2015 alleging that the broker made unsuitable recommendations to their account. During the period of November 2011 through January 2013, Rose allegedly misrepresented and recommended unsuitable purchases of Puerto Rico municipal bond funds and New York State bonds. The alleged damages were worth $500,000 and the case was settled at $84,500.

Rose entered the industry in 1983. He is currently employed at Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and has been employed there since January 2013. His previous employment includes: UBS Financial Services (October 2007 – February 2013), Morgan Stanley Inc. (April 2007 – October 2007), and Morgan Stanley DW Inc. (July 1983 – April 2007).

shutterstock_175137287-300x200According to BrokerCheck records Michael Spolar (Spolar), now associated with International Assets Advisory, LLC (IAA), has been sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that Spolar exercised discretion in customers’ accounts that were non-discretionary accounts.  Since according to FINRA Spolar did not obtain written authorization from these customers to exercise discretion in their accounts and his member firms did not approve these accounts for discretionary trading, these trades were unauthorized.  FINRA found that while Spolar stated that he discussed strategy with these clients and he received verbal authority for the trades.  However, when the firm discovered the activity Spolar was terminated. FINRA also found that when Spolar moved to a different brokerage firm he continued to exercise discretion in customer accounts despite his prior termination for the same conduct.

In addition to the FINRA sanctions Spolar has been subject to eight customer complaints, one termination, and one financial disclosures including a bankruptcy filing in December 2015.  Some of the complaints against Brodt allege securities law violations including that the broker engaged in unauthorized trading among other claims.

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shutterstock_188269637-300x200Morgan Stanley financial advisor Michael Fitz-Gerald (Fitz-Gerald) has subject to five customer complaints according to BrokerCheck records.  Fitz-Gerald has been employed with Morgan Stanley since November 2008.  According to BrokerCheck the most recent customer complaints allege unsuitable investments and failure to diversify the portfolio among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in February 2017 and alleges investments in energy stocks since 2014 were unsuitable and did not specify damages.  The claim is currently pending.  In February 2016 another customer filed a complaint alleging $50,000 in damages as a result of a failure to diversify the portfolio.  The claim was settled.  The securities lawyers of Gana LLP continue to investigate the customer complaints against Fitz-Gerald.

Our firm is currently tracking a number of brokers that severely concentrated their clients in the oil and gas and commodities sectors which has historically possessed speculative risks due to the volatile nature of commodities prices.  Before making such recommendations, financial advisors must ensure that the oil and gas and commodities related investments being recommended to their client is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company before making the recommendation.  Unfortunately, sometimes adivsors fail to conduct sufficient research or understand the risks and prospects of the company and the volatile nature of commodities.

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shutterstock_94127350-300x205In March 2017, Broker Richard Lucker (Lucker) was subject to a massive complaint alleging $14,447,501 in damages.  Lucker is currently employed by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo).  According BrokerCheck the customer complained that there was a failure to supervise with respect to Lucker’s management of her account from 2011 to 2013.  There are no other details provided as to which products or the type of trading activity that occurred that caused the losses complained of.  The complaint is currently pending.  The securities lawyers of Gana LLP continue to investigate the customer complaint against Lucker.

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.

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