Articles Tagged with Salomon Whitney

shutterstock_113632177The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker John Prinzivalli (Prinzivalli).  According to BrokerCheck records Prinzivalli has been the subject of at least two customer complaints, three financial disclosures, and one judgement or lien.  The customer complaints against Prinzivalli allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

One complaint filed in October 2014 alleged $130,000 in damages due to unsuitable recommendations, high pressure sales tactics, and churning.  The complaint is currently pending.  Another complaint was filed in November 2010 alleging churning and unsuitable investments claiming $250,000 in damages.  The complaint was settled.

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_71403175The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a string of customer complaints against broker Shawn Burns (Burns) currently registered Salomon Whitney LLC (Salomon). According to The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck system, the customer complaints primarily allege unauthorized trading, failure to execute, suitability, misrepresentation, fraud, churning, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Burns has been in the industry since 1999. In only 15 years Burns has been employed by 10 different firms. After leaving Westrock Advisors, Inc. in May 2007, Burns became registered with J.P Turner & Company, L.L.C. until June 2009. From June 2009, until July 2011, Burns was registered with First Midwest Securities, Inc. Thereafter, Burns was registered with Salomon until August 2012. Then Burns became associated with Cape Securities Inc. until April 2014 before again going back to Salomon where he is currently registered.

Burns has had 12 customer complaints filed against him during his career, one termination, and five judgments or liens. These statistics are troubling because so many customer complaints are rare. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. These disclosures do not necessarily have to include customer complaints but can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters. The number of brokers with multiple customer complaints is far smaller.

shutterstock_157506896The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has sanctioned Salomon Whitney, LLC (Salomon Whitney) concerning allegations from July 2008 through November 2009 the firm failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system reasonably designed to monitor transactions in leveraged, inverse, and inverse-leveraged Exchange-Traded Funds (Non-Traditional ETFs). Non-Traditional ETFs contained risks that increase over time and in volatile markets including risks of a daily reset, leverage, and compounding. FINRA found that Salomon Whitney failed to establish a reasonable supervisory system to monitor transactions in Non-Traditional ETFs, provide adequate formal training, and observe reasonable basis suitability guidelines by failing to perform reasonable due diligence to understand the risks and features associated with the products.

Salomon Whitney has been a FINRA broker-dealer since 2008 and the firm is headquartered in Farmingdale, New York where it conducts a general securities business. Salomon Whitney has approximately 19 brokers registered with the firm.

Non-Traditional ETFs use a combination of derivatives instruments and debt to multiply returns on an underlining asset, class of securities, or sector index. The leverage employed by Non-Traditional ETFs is designed to generate 2 to 3 times the return of the underlining asset class. Non-Traditional ETFs can also be used to return the inverse or the opposite result of the return of the benchmark.

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