Articles Tagged with Sigma Financial

shutterstock_143094109-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Peter Bakalis (Bakalis), currently employed by D.H. Hill Securities, LLLP (DH Hill Securities) has been subject to at least two customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory investigation.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Bakalis’ customer complaints allege that Bakalis failed to disclose a non-traded REIT merger and forged client signatures on paperwork.

In October 2018 Bakalis was terminated by his then employer Sigma Financial Corporation when the firm claimed that it has reason to believe that the representative forged, or instructed/caused others to forge, client signatures on account opening and account transfer paperwork.

Thereafter, in December 2018 the State of Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services opened an investigation claiming to have received a complaint on the appropriateness of annuity surrender/transfer for 3 different clients.

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shutterstock_85873471-300x200Advisor Leslie Goldstein (Goldstein), currently employed by Securities America, Inc. (Securities America) has been subject to at least four customer complaints, two regulatory actions, and one employment termination for cause.  According to a BrokerCheck report some of the customer complaints concern alternative investments and direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil & gas programs, annuities, and equipment leasing programs.  The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP have extensive experience handling investor losses caused by these types of products.

In December 2018 a customer complained that Goldstein violated the securities laws by alleging that the financial advisor did not explain the impact of an early withdrawal from a variable annuity on the client’s future annuity income benefits. The claim was withdrawn.

In July 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Goldstein violated the securities laws by alleging concentrated positions in illiquid investments, annuities, life insurance and non-traded REITs which were unsuitable. The allegations also include churning, excessive commissions, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. The claim alleged $1,000,000 in damages and is currently pending.

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shutterstock_78835723-300x198The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating regulatory complaints of broker Thomas Edward Gackle (Gackle). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Thomas Edward Gackle was permanently barred in July 2016 from the securities industry for failing to appear for on-the-record testimony requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation. In addition, the broker has been subject to at least one customer complaint and one employment separation for cause among other claims. The customer complaint against Gackle involve direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).

In April 2015, a customer filed a complaint alleging that the amount of income ($100,000.00) stated on the suitability form was invalid and an investment purchased March 2015 caused $1,000,000.00 in damages. This complaint is currently pending.

This customer complaint resulted in Gackle to resign from his position at Lowell & Company in April 2015. This was based on allegations of failure to disclose material levents prior to association with Lowell & Company, which was an order issued by the Kansas Bar for the indefinite suspension from practicing law in the state of Kansas. Gackle’s resignation preceded FINRA’s sanctions, barring him from securities industry.

shutterstock_173809013This post continues our prior report on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) recently sanctions against Sigma Financial Corporation (Sigma Financial) alleging from April 25, 2011, through June 24, 2012, supervisory deficiencies existed at Sigma including the firm’s supervision of registered representatives, the firm’s suitability processes and procedures, some of the firm’s implemented procedures relating to customer information, and also branch office registration for trade execution.

FINRA found that Sigma Financial permitted its representatives to create and use consolidated statements with their customers that reflected the customers’ holdings of investments away from the firm. However, FINRA found that Sigma Financial did not adequately supervise its representatives’ creation and use of such statements in that the firm neither centrally tracked the number or identity of representatives who were using consolidated statements nor the customers who received such statements. Instead, FINRA found that Sigma Financial relied upon the representatives themselves to submit only the initial template of the consolidated statements they created and intended to use with their customers and the firm did not actually receive or review the statements shared with the customers.

Another supervisory deficiency noted by FINRA was that Sigma Financial had four preferred vendors through which brokers could establish and maintain websites. But use of these vendors, was not required and FINRA found that 134 representatives maintained non-preferred vendor websites, or approximately 20% of all websites. FINRA found that non- preferred vendors failed to notify Sigma Financial if registered representatives made any changes to their websites. In this way FINRA found that Sigma Financial did not conduct adequate supervision of those non-preferred vendor websites.

shutterstock_155045255The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned Sigma Financial Corporation (Sigma Financial) alleging from April 25, 2011, through June 24, 2012, supervisory deficiencies existed at Sigma in specific areas of Sigma’s supervisory systems and procedures including the firm’s supervision of registered representatives, the firm’s suitability processes and procedures, some of the firm’s implemented procedures relating to customer information, and also concerning branch office registration for trade execution.

Sigma Financial has been a FINRA member since 1983, and currently has a total of 685 registered representatives operating from 436 branch office locations. Sigma conducts a general securities business.

FINRA found that Sigma Financial’s supervisory and compliance functions were conducted by B/D OPS, LLC (BD OPS) from a central location in Ann Arbor, Michigan. FINRA found that BD OPS also provided supervisory and compliance services for Sigma Financial’s affiliated investment advisor and another broker-dealer. As a result, FINRA determined that a mere 35 supervisory personnel working for BD OPS were responsible for supervising a total of 1,274 registered representatives and 854 branch offices. FINRA found that Sigma Financial’s reliance upon BD OPS to remotely conduct all of the supervisory and compliance functions for Sigma Financial’s independent contractors and branch offices was not reasonable.