Articles Tagged with Raymond James

shutterstock_184430645-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Lynn Faust (Faust), currently employed by Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Inc. (Stifel Nicolaus) has been subject to at least three customer complaints and one employment termination for cause during her career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the complaints against Faust concern allegations of unsuitable investments in market linked notes.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Faust recommended investments that violated the securities laws concerning misrepresented market linked notes.  The complaint alleges $59,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In October 2018 Faust was terminated by Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) due to allegations that the firm had concerns relating to the nature of advisor’s UIT activity.

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shutterstock_89758564-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Mark Tudor (Tudor), in October 2018, was accused by his former employer, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James) of selling unapproved products.  In addition, Tudor’s disclosures reveal two financial disclosures and two customer complaints.  Thereafter, Tudor became associated with investment advisory firm Collaborative Wealth.

In October 2018 Raymond James terminated Tudor claiming that Tudor was terminated for introducing clients to investments away from the firm without approval and was not helpful when being interviewed by firm counsel.

Tudor’s disclosures include four outside business activities (OBAs) including Tudor Wealth Management, Reik Wealth Management, Young Living, and Positive Path which Tudor owns.  At this time it is unclear whether the unapproved products involve any of these entities.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

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shutterstock_188269637-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Steven Reznik (Reznik), formerly employed by Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James) has been subject to twelve customer complaints during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the complaints against Reznik concern allegations of unsuitable investments and allegations of overconcentration involving equities and options.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Reznik recommended investments that violated the securities laws including suitability, overconcentration, unauthorized trading, negligence, violation of FINRA Rules, breach of contract, negligent supervision, and breach of fiduciary duty from 9/26/16 – 10/31/18.  The customer alleges $125,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In September 2017 a customer complained that Reznik recommended investments that violated the securities laws misrepresentations and omissions relating to unauthorized trades, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, failure to supervise, negligence, gross negligence, negligent retention, negligent misrepresentation, concentration, and respondeat superior liability occurring from 3/25/15 to 9/13/18.  The customer claimed $2,000,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_160486019-300x300According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Maria Hendershott (Hendershott), currently employed by Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) has been subject to four customer complaints during her career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the complaints against Hendershott concern allegations of unsuitable investments and allegations of overconcentration.

In November 2018 a customer complained that Hendershott recommended investments that violated the securities laws including breach of contract, violation of provisions of The Texas State Securities Statutes, Ann. Tx Civil Statutes Art. 581-33, violation of The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act Bc. Code Ann. § 17.46 and Tex Bc. Code Ann. § 17.50, breach of fiduciary duty that took place from 01/15/2015 until 09/12/2016.  The customer alleges $500,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In October 2017 a customer complained that Hendershott recommended investments that violated the securities laws including during 06/30/2014 until 07/31/2015 claiming gross mismanagement of accounts, investor abuse, churning, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and violation of industry rules.  The customer claimed $100,000 in damages.  The case settled for $75,000.

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shutterstock_145123405-200x300According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Stephen Murray (Murray) has been subject to seven customer complaints, two financial disclosures or tax liens, and one regulatory action.  Murray was formerly employed by Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) prior to his bar from the financial industry.  Many of the customer complaints against Murray concern allegations of high frequency trading activity also referred to as churning, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable investments.

In May 2018 FINRA barred Murray after he failed to respond to FINRA’s requests for documents and information concerning his activities.

In May 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging churning unauthorized trading, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.  The claim alleged $100,000 in damages and settled.

In addition, Murray has two financial disclosures concerning debts and tax liens.  This information has been found to be material for investors to have because an advisor who cannot manage his own finances is a relevant factor for investors to consider.  In addition, a broker in financial distress may be influenced to recommend high commission products or strategies.

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shutterstock_185582-300x225According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor George Puliafico (Puliafico), employed by Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (Raymond James), has been subject to one customer complaint.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Puliafico has been accused by a customer of unsuitable investment advice concerning various investment products including energy stocks most likely including master limited partnerships (MLPs).  The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.

The claim was filed in April 2018 and alleges breach of fiduciary duty, negligent supervision, and breach of contract.  The customer claimed $2,000,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

Our firm handles claims and is also investigating securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.

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shutterstock_160304408-300x199Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have been investigating Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) broker Thomas O’Brien (O’Brien). According to BrokerCheck records, O’Brien has been subject to three customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve the misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendation of annuities.

Most recently, in November 2017, customers alleged that from January 2001 to present, O’Brien engaged in fraudulent representation of investments, over-concentration of investments, and failure of the firm to properly supervise O’Brien’s activities. The customer is requesting $5,000,000 in damages. This dispute is still pending.

In September 2006, a customer alleged that O’Brien falsely represented an annuity purchase to the customer by failing to disclose crucial information that the investor can’t withdraw funds from his annuity investment. The customer requested $5,000 in damages.

shutterstock_175993865-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), broker Clifford Vatter (Vatter) has received six customer complaints. Furthermore, Vatter was terminated in July 2017 from Raymond James & Associates for allegedly engaging in unauthorized trading in one customer’s account.

In September 2016, a customer alleged Vatter made unsuitable investment recommendations, misrepresented and omitted material facts and breached his fiduciary duty. This dispute settled for $250,000.

In April 2009, a customer alleged Vatter made unauthorized withdrawals among other allegations. This dispute settled for $13,300.

shutterstock_85873471-300x200According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Leon Rehak (Rehak) has been subject to two customer complaints.  Rehak is currently registered with LPL Financial LLC (LPL Financial).  In November 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging a number of securities law violations including that the broker made engaged in churning (excessive trading), unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.  The claim alleged $600,000 in damages and is currently pending.

In October 2017, another customer filed a complaint alleging Common Law Fraud, Common Law Negligent Misrepresentation, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Negligence, Suitability, and Excessive Trading from May 2011 through September 2017.  The claim alleged $499,000 in damages and is currently pending.

When brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time.  Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities.  This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades.  Churning is considered a species of securities fraud.  The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions.  A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements.  Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim.  These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

shutterstock_36343294-300x225According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor James Lyons (Lyons), has been subject to five customer complaints and one employment terminations for cause.  Lyons was formerly associated with Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (Raymond James) until April 2017 when the firm terminated his employment due to customer allegation of unauthorized trading.

The most recent customer complaint filed against Lyons alleged that from December 2013 through June 2017 the broker engaged in unauthorized and unsuitable trading resulting in $800,000 in damages.  The complaint was filed in June 2017 and is currently pending.  Previously a customer in April 2016 alleged unauthorized trading resulting in $1.2 million in damages.  That claim was eventually settled for $400,000.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading.  Such trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior authority from the investor. All brokers are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b).  These rules explicitly prohibit brokers from making discretionary trades in a customers’ non-discretionary accounts. The SEC has also found that unauthorized trading to be fraudulent nature because no disclosure could be more important to an investor than to be made aware that a trade will take place.