Articles Tagged with Silver Oak

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned brokerage firm Silver Oak Securities, Inc. (Silver Oak) concerning allegations from January 2009, to December 2010, Silver Oak failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws regarding the sale of leveraged and inverse Exchange-Traded Funds (Non-Traditional ETFs).  Silver Oak has been a FINRA member since 2007 and is in Jackson, Tennessee, and employs 122 registered individuals at 28 branch offices.

Non-Traditional ETFs have grown significantly in popularity since 2006.  By 2009, over 100 Non-Traditional ETFs had been issued with total assets under management of approximately $22 billion.  A leveraged ETF seeks to deliver two or three times an index or benchmark return the ETF tracks.  Non-Traditional ETFs can also be “inverse” or “short” returning the opposite of the performance the index or benchmark.  Non-Traditional ETFs contain significant risks that are not found in traditional ETFs.   Non-Traditional ETFs have risks associated with a daily reset, use of leverage, and compounding.

In addition, the performance of Non-Traditional ETFs over long periods of time tend to differ significantly from the performance of the underlying index or benchmark the fund tracks.  For example, between December 2008, and April 2009, the Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Index gained two percent while a leveraged ETF that tracked the index’s daily return fell six percent.  Another related leveraged ETF seeking to deliver twice the inverse of the index’s daily return fell by 26 percent.  These risks, among others, prompted FINRA to issue a Notice to Members clarifying brokerage firm obligations when selling Non-Traditional ETFs to customers.

Gana Weinstein LLP is investigating claims against LPL Financial (LPL) on behalf of former customers of Alberto Neira who invested in Silver Oak Leasing (Silver Oak). In November 2012, Neira executed a letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) concerning his sale of investments in Silver Oak. According to the AWC, “[b]eginning in 2006, [Neira] became engaged with an outside business activity at Silver Oak Leasing, Inc. (“Silver Oak”), a California corporation purportedly involved in providing automobile financing and leasing services. [Neira] failed to fully disclose his involvement in the outside business activity, including that he was acting as a director of Silver Oak. [Neira] thereby violated NASD Rules 3030 and 2110 and FINRA Rules 32701 and 2010. Between July 1, 2008, and January 18, 2011 (the relevant period), [Neira] also recommended investments in Silver Oak to 14 customers. He did so without disclosure to his firm, [LPL Financial,] in violation of NASD Rules 3040 and 2110 and FINRA Rule 2010.2. Finally, during the course of this investigation, [Neira] failed to timely respond to staff requests for information and testimony. As a result, [Neira] violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.” Neira was barred from the securities industry.

From February 2002 through January 2011, Neira was registered with LPL and operated out of Santa Ana, California. Under FINRA Rule 3010, LPL was obligated to properly supervise the activities of Neira during the time he was registered with the brokerage firm. Accordingly, we believe LPL may be liable for failing to supervise Neira’s activities while registered at the firm, and that it could be held responsible for compensating customers of Neira for their losses.

Former customers of Neira who invested in Silver Oak are encouraged to contact Gana Weinstein LLP to explore their legal rights and options.


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