Articles Tagged with Morgan Stanley

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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shutterstock_63635611-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating allegations by The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finding that former Morgan Stanley broker Barry Connell (Connell) working out of the Ridgewood, New Jersey office misappropriated about $5 million from clients.  After a customer complained of about $2,500,000 in unauthorized fund transfers in November 2016 Morgan Stanley terminated Connell about a week later.  Morgan Stanley terminated Connell on ground that there were “Allegations regarding unauthorized withdrawals and transfers of funds from client’s household accounts to third-party payees, which appear to be for the benefit of the former registered representative.”  Thereafter, Connell was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to provide documents and information related to Morgan Stanley’s statement.

In February 2017, the SEC alleged that Connell stole money from investors to settle a private lawsuit among other misuses.  Connell was alleged to have engaged in misappropriation of approximately $5 million from investment advisory clients.  The SEC found that from approximately December 2015 through November 2016, Connell carried out his scheme primarily by moving funds between client accounts and then sending wire transfers and checks from the accounts to third parties for his own benefit.  The SEC stated that over the course of approximately 11 months Connell made more than 100 unauthorized transactions through forms falsely representing that he had received verbal client authorizations for the transactions.  The SEC changed that this conduct was the engaging in transactions, acts, practices and courses of business that constitute violations of Section 206(1) and Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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shutterstock_145368937-300x225The securities and investment fraud attorneys at Gana LLP are investigating the regulatory complaint filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Stanley Clayton Niekras (Niekras). The FINRA regulatory action alleges that Niekras recommended unsuitable variable annuity exchanges in three customers’ accounts. FINRA found that Niekras effected the annuity exchanges to benefit himself at the customers’ expense. Niekras allegedly misrepresented himself to a couple in their 90s claiming $70,000 of fees due for financial planning services. According to BrokerCheck records, Niekras has been subject to eight customer complaints and one regulatory action among other claims.

The FINRA complaint alleges that Niekras made fraudulent misrepresentations to an elderly couple in their 90s to collect more than $70,000 in estate and financial planning fees while associated with the brokerage firm MML Investors Services, LLC. FINRA alleges that Niekras didn’t have an investment advisory or financial planning agreement with the elderly couple, but he billed them for hundreds of hours of time that he supposedly spent working on their “financial future”, work that he claimed to have done over four years knowing he wasn’t entitled to the “estate planning” or “financial planning” fees he charged. In February 2013, he recommended that the children buy a particular variable annuity with the gifted assets, anticipating collecting about $75,000 in commissions from the sales. The claim is currently pending.

The most recent complaint was filed in December 2010 alleging unsuitable variable annuity recommendations in clients account from January 1995 through March 2005 causing over $5,000 in damages. The claim settled for $247,500.00.

shutterstock_152933045-300x200The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating a customer complaint filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Albert Dishner (Dishner), currently associated with Morgan Stanley. According to BrokerCheck records Dishner has been subject to at least four customer complaints among other claims. The customer complaints against Dishner allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, churning (excessive trading), and breach of fiduciary duty trading among other claims.

The most recent complaint against Dishner was filed in August 2016, while employed at Credit Suisse Securities, alleging $600,000.00 in damage stemming from violation of FINRA rules and federal securities laws, churning, and trading negligently in customer’s account from 2010 until 2015. The complaint settled in December 2016 for $205,000.00.

In 2012 a customer filed a complaint alleging, while employed at Credit Suisse Securities, Dishner did not follow customers instructions to sell securities and later executed an unauthorized sale causing $354,000 in damages. The complaint was denied.

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