Articles Tagged with Morgan Stanley

shutterstock_1081038-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that Kenneth Hutkin, currently employed by Wedbush Securities Inc., (Wedbush) has been subject to at least five customer complaints during his career. According to records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Hutkin’s customer complaints allege that Hutkin recommended unsuitable investments, engaged in churning, overcharged certain corporate security debts, and engaged in unapproved outside business practices.

In February 2020, a customer complained that Hutkin violated the securities laws by alleging that Hutkin engaged in unsuitable investment advice. The claim does not specify any amount with respect to damages. However, the complaint was denied.

In September 2018, a customer complained that Hutkin violated securities laws by alleging that Hutkin engaged in unapproved outside business activities, including payments for some such activities. Hutkin was terminated by his employer, Morgan Stanley, for these allegations.

In October 2008, a customer complained that Hutkin violated securities laws by alleging that Hutkin overcharged certain corporate debt securities. The claim settled in the amount of $52,958.

In June 1993, a customer complained that Hutkin violated securities laws by alleging that Hutkin engaged in unsuitable investment advice and churning. The claim settled in the amount of $23,000.

In June 1992, a customer complained that Hutkin violated securities laws by alleging that Hutkin engaged in unsuitable investment advice and churning. The claim settled in the amount of $130,000.

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shutterstock_115937266-300x237Adviser Michael Greenstone (Greenstone), currently employed at Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (Merrill Lynch), has been subject to at least nine customer complaints during the course of his career. Eight of the nine complaints against Greenstone allege unsuitability.  In addition, Greenstone recently had nine customer complaints expunged in mass from his record using FINRA’s notoriously flawed expungement process.  According to the PIABA Foundation, 1,078 expungement-only cases have been filed from 2015 to 2018.  The study concluded that “The Finra [expungement] process is being systematically gamed, exploited and abused with one-sided hearings, manipulation of arbitrator selection, deletion of significant customer complaints and abusive (and possibly fraudulent) conduct to such an extent that it must be frozen until it can be repaired.”

According to a BrokerCheck report, there have been two complaints against Greenstone in the past two years alleging him of making unsuitable investment recommendations. The most recent allegation against Greenstone is pending and the customer is seeking $5 million in damages for unsuitable investment recommendations made from 2013 through 2019. Over the course of Greenstone’s career, several customers have accused him of making unsuitable investment recommendations. The aggregate settlement amount for his collective complaints is in excess of $240,000.00. Greenstones two largest reported settlements occurred in 2009 and in 1999. In July 2009, a customer alleged Greenstone placed her in a portfolio that was not suitable for her risk tolerance and age. This matter settled for approximately $114,000.00. Moreover, in July 1999, accused Greenstone of excessive and unsuitable trading. This matter settled for $106,000.00.

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shutterstock_152933045-300x200Adviser Stuart Henley, previously employed at Calton and Associates, Inc. (Calton), has been subject to a customer complaint, discharged for his handling of client accounts, and was suspended and fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  Additionally, Henley has also been subject to a tax lien. His most recent customer complaint alleges churning, excessive trading, and unsuitable trading.

According to a BrokerCheck report, in September 2016, a customer alleged that Henley excessively traded their account to gain commission. The matter was settled for $800,000. Moreover, in March 2018, Morgan Stanley discharged Henley for engaging in unauthorized trading.  Thereafter, FINRA sanctioned Henley and he consented to findings that he exercised discretion in an elderly customer’s account without receiving acceptance of the account as discretionary by his member firm. Further, FINRA stated that although Henley had been given express or implied authority to exercise discretion in the account, the customer did not provide written authorization for Henley to exercise discretion.  Moreover, according to FINRA Henley provided inaccurate responses on annual compliance questionnaires submitted to the firm by falsely indicating that he not exercised discretion in any customer account.

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shutterstock_1081038-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Jeffrey Leach (Leach), currently employed by Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least three customer complaints during the course of his career.  Leach’s customer complaints alleges that Leach recommended unsuitable investments in various investments including energy related investments.  The clients make allegations including breach of misrepresentation among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In May 2020 a customer complained that Leach violated the securities laws by alleging that Leach made investments recommendations that the client were unsuitable with respect to investments in energy sector from July 2014 to May 2020.  The claim alleges $500,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In January 2020 a customer complained that Leach violated the securities laws by alleging that Leach made investments recommendations that the client were misrepresented from September 2018 to December 2019.  The claim alleges $3,000,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_120556300-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Rick Davidson (Davidson), currently employed by National Securities Corporation (National Securities) has been subject to at least six customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one bankruptcy during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Davidson’s customer complaints alleges that Davidson recommended unsuitable investments in various investments such structured products and corporate debt among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

In May 2016 Davidson was terminated by Morgan Stanley on allegations relating to registered representative’s exercise of discretion in clients’ accounts as well as receipt of a loan from a Morgan Stanley employee.

Thereafter, in May 2019 Davidson declared bankruptcy.

The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently representing 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 imporoper 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.

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shutterstock_173864537-300x200The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating BrokerCheck records reports that financial advisor Robert Brinckerhoff (Brinckerhoff), currently employed by Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least five customer complaints and five regulatory actions during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Brinckerhoff’s customer complaints alleges that Brinckerhoff recommended unsuitable investments in various investments such structured products among other allegations of misconduct relating to the handling of their accounts.

The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently representing 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.

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shutterstock_173509961-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating claims that advisor Robert Montes (Montes) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) and investment sales that were not approved by his brokerage firm.  Montes, formerly registered with Morgan Stanley was subject to a regulatory investigation according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Montes disclosed three customer complaints.

In July 2019, FINRA alleged that Montes accepted a bar from the financial industry, without admitting or denying the findings, that he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with an investigation into whether he potentially misused an elderly customer’s assets.

At this time it is unclear what the activity was that was the focus of FINRA’s investigation or the scope of Montes’ activities.  Montes’ publicly available BrokerCheck information discloses several OBAs including a real estate venture and a company called R.J.R. Asset Management, LLC.  It is unknown whether the activity investigated by FINRA involves any of these entities.

Our law firm has significant experience bringing cases on behalf of defrauded victims when their advisors engage in receiving loans from clients or selling fraudulent securities sales through OBAs.  The sale of unapproved investment products – is a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws.  In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm.  Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds.

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shutterstock_102217105-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor John Busco (Busco), currently employed by Laidlaw & Company (UK) Ltd. (Laidlaw) and previously with Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least 11 customer complaints and one regulatory action during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Busco’s customer complaints allege that Busco recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including alternative investments among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In March 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Busco violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Busco made unsuitable investments in alternative investments from 2009 through 2018 causing damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In April 2011 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Busco violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Busco made unsuitable investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac causing $120,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $40,000.

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shutterstock_175137287-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Izhar Shefer (Shefer), formerly employed by Morgan Stanley has been subject to at least ten customer complaints during the course of her career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Shefer’s customer complaints allege that Shefer recommended unsuitable securities recommendations in a variety of products including options trading among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In August 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Shefer violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Shefer made unsuitable investments from 2011 to 2017.  The alleged damages are $700,000 and the claim is currently pending.

In May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Shefer violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Shefer made unsuitable investments from 2015 to 2017.  The claim settled for $26,840.

In September 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Shefer violated the securities laws by, among other things, that Shefer made unsuitable investments from July 2015 to February 2017.  The claim settled for $30,000.

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shutterstock_123758422-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Richard Bernstein (Bernstein), currently employed by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) has been subject to at least eight customer complaints during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Bernstein’s customer complaints allege that Bernstein recommended unsuitable investments and securities among other allegations.

In February 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Bernstein violated the securities laws by, among other things, that the client is seeking at least $53,000.00 in damage and claims that from February 2013 to July 2015 the advisor made unauthorized trades which conflicted with the client’s stated investment goals.  The claim is currently pending

In January 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Bernstein violated the securities laws by, among other things, that from 2015 through 2016 the advisor made unsuitable investments.  The claim is currently pending.

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