Articles Tagged with Stifel Nicolaus

shutterstock_120115444-300x198Advisor Ghazaleh Ebrahimi (Ebrahimi), currently employed by Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel, Nicolaus) has been subject to at least four customer complaints.  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 November 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Ebrahimi violated the securities laws by violation of standards of reasonable basis suitability, just and equitable principles of trade, fraud, misleading statements, misleading omissions of material information; breach of fiduciary duty; negligent misrepresentation; negligence; breach of contract and warranty; third party beneficiary breach of contract; breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; elder abuse; and aiding and abetting financial elder abuse.  The customer alleged $1.3 million in damages and the claim is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Ebrahimi violated the securities laws by violation of breach of fiduciary duty; negligence; breach of contract; common law fraud and deceit; and violations of FINRA rules  The customer alleged $1.3 million in damages and the claim is currently pending.

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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_128856874-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating previously registered broker John James (James). According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in March 2016, James was discharged  by his firm, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (Merrill Lynch) based on allegations that James was engaging in outside business activities, private investments, and borrowing money from clients without disclosing the activities to the firm.  Subsequently, in September 2016, James was also discharged from Stifel Nicolaus for providing inaccurate information on his employment application (U5) regarding the status of an internal inquiry at his prior firm, Merrill Lynch.

In December 2017, FINRA barred James from the industry after James failed to provide FINRA with requested documents and information regarding these allegations and activities.  FINRA sought documents concerning the circumstances surrounding Jones’s termination from his member firm and of certain outside business activities that James was involved in while registered with the firm. After James refused to show up to an on-the-record testimony regarding these allegations, he was barred from the industry for being in violation of F1NRA Rule 8210, James violates FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.

In addition, James has been subject to one customer complaint. In May 2009, a customer alleged that James recommended unsuitable investments. The case was settled at $160,000 in damages.

shutterstock_26269225-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Coleman Devlin (Devlin), formerly associated with IFS Securities (IFS), has been subject to 14 customer complaints.  In addition, Devlin has been subject to two regulatory matters and has been terminated by two firms for cause.  In June 2016 Devlin was discharged from Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel, Nicolaus) on allegations of unauthorized trading.  Thereafter, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) conducted its own investigation of Devlin’s trading activities.

In October 2017, FINRA found that Devlin effected discretionary trades in five customer accounts without obtaining prior written authorization from the customers and without acceptance of the accounts as discretionary by his member firm.

Devlin has also been subject to numerous customer complaints over the course of his career.  The most recent case was filed in November 2017 and alleged unsuitable investments.  The customer seeks $600,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_101456704-300x197According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Martin Stevens (Stevens), currently associated with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel Nicolause), has been subject to seven customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in August 2017 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Stevens conduct breached his fiduciary duty, negligence, unsuitable investments, violations of Arizona’s Securities Fraud Statute, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract among other claims.  The customer seeks $249,000 in damages and the claim is currently pending.

Also in August 2017 another customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments causing $34,719 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_184920014-300x199Our firm is investigating claims made by Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (Stifel Nicolaus) when the firm terminated broker Jon Schmidhammer (Schmidhammer).  According to the firm, Schmidhammer was discharged in July 2016 after allegation were made that Schmidhammer resigned after his arrest for allegedly stealing money from a client.

According to Schmidhammer’s brokercheck records Schmidhammer has no disclosed outside business activities.  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”.  Often times brokers who engage in this practice use outside businesses in order to market their securities.

In October 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Schmidhammer engaged in unsuitable management of their accounts, unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion.  The complaint alleges damages of $500,000.  The claim is currently pending.

shutterstock_71403175The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Charles Obryant (Obryant) alleging unsuitable investments, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading.  According to brokercheck records Obryant has been subject to four customer complaints and one employment separation for cause.

A customer complaint filed in October 2015 alleged negligence and suitability violations causing damages in the amount of $630,000.  The claim was settled for $632,298.

In January 2016, Stifel Nicolaus discharged Obryant alleging a loss of confidence after settlement of complaint.  The broker commented on the discharge stating that the equity concerning the dispute was a Stifel buy recommended security that went bankrupt and the broker made no personal contribution to the settlement.

shutterstock_102242143The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Lance Shaw (Shaw).  According to BrokerCheck records Shaw has been the subject of at least eight customer complaints and one criminal matter.  The customer complaints against Shaw allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and churning (excessive trading) among other claims.

The most recent complaint was filed in August 2015 and alleged that the customer’s account was traded without authority.  The complaint is currently pending.  Also in August 2015 another customer complained that unauthorized trading occurred causing $26,874 in damages.  The complaint is pending.  A third complaint also filed in August 2015 makes similar allegations that allegedly caused $56,166.  This complaint has been 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_189006551The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and barred broker Kenneth Hornyak (Hornyak) (Case No. 2013038511901) alleging that the broker failed to respond the regulator’s requests for documents and information. FINRA’s investigation appeared to focus on claims that Hornyak engaged in potential discretionary trading, unauthorized trading, and unsuitable short-term trading in Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). On May 11, 2015, Hornyak informed FINRA that he would not appear for questioning and the regulator subsequently barred the broker.

According to the BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA Hornyak has been the subject of at least four customer complaints, one regulatory action, and two employment terminations for cause. Customers have filed complaints against Hornyak alleging a litany of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, unauthorized trades, churning, and excessive sales charges among other claims.

Hornyak entered the securities industry in 1998 with Morgan Stanley. From March 2006, until January 2014, Hornyak was associated with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated. In January 2014, Stifel, Nicolaus terminated Hornyak for cause alleging that Hornyak was terminated because of violation of firm policies regarding exercising discretion without written authorization.

shutterstock_1832893According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Francine Frechter (Frechter) has been the subject of two customer complaints and one employment separation. The customer complaints against Frechter allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments, misrepresentations, and failure to follow instructions among other claims.

Frechter entered the securities industry in 1984. Since 2000 Frechter was associated with Citigroup Global Markers Inc. From June 2009, until January 2014, Frechter was a registered representative with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. In December 2013, Frechter was discharged from Wells Fargo concerning allegations that Frechter recommended a lending product to three clients that was contrary to the firm’s policies. Currently, Frechter is associated with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated.

Advisers have an obligation to deal fairly with investors and that obligation includes making suitable investment recommendations. In order to make suitable recommendations the broker must have a reasonable basis for recommending the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation of the investments properties including its costs, benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. In addition, the broker must also understand the customer’s specific investment objectives to determine whether or not the specific product or security being recommended is appropriate for the customer based upon their needs.