Articles Tagged with Suitability

shutterstock_190371500-300x200The securities lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating complaints against broker Alexander Kibrik (Kibrik). According to BrokerCheck records, Kibrik currently has two pending customer complaints.

In March 2017, a customer alleged unauthorized trading and unsuitability. The customer is requesting $413,045 in this pending dispute.

In July 2015, a customer alleged breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, and breach of contract. The customer is requesting $21,125,000 in this pending dispute.

Advisors are not allowed to engage in unauthorized trading. Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker sells securities without the prior consent from the investor. All brokers, who do not have discretionary authority to trade an account, are under an obligation to first discuss trades with the investor before executing them under NYSE Rule 408(a) and FINRA Rules 2510(b). Further, subsequent disclosure of the trades does not cure the violation. Unauthorized trading is a type of investment fraud because the SEC has found that no disclosure could be more important and material to an investor than to be made aware that trading is taking place. Unauthorized trading is often a gateway violation to other securities violations including churning, unsuitable investments, and excessive use of margin.

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shutterstock_12144202-300x200The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against John Eglow (Eglow). According to BrokerCheck records, Eglow, who works out of Delray Beach, Florida, has been subject to four customer disputes.

In May 2017, a customer alleged she was overcharged for trades. This dispute settled for $48,758.

In July 2016, a customer alleged Eglow made unsuitable recommendations, resulting in unrealized losses. This dispute settled for $115,000.

In March 2015, a customer alleged that the terms and provisions of investments were misrepresented by Eglow. This dispute settled for $3,205.73.

Brokers have a responsibility to 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.

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shutterstock_189302963-300x194The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory action brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker James Cox (Cox).

According to Cox’s Brokercheck records, he has been sanctioned by FINRA because he allegedly recommended unsuitable annuity transactions to a customer and received commissions of $25,460 in connection with the exchange. Without admitting or denying the findings, Cox consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings. Cox was suspended from FINRA for four months and fined a total of $35,460.

In April 2017, Cox was terminated from Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated because of a “lack of confidence after settlement of customer complaint and nondisclosure of outside business activity”

Moreover, Cox has been subject to four customer disputes.

In June 2012, a customer alleged that when the customer retired, Cox made unsuitable recommendations, made material misrepresentations, and breached his fiduciary duty. This dispute settled for $25,000.

In June 2014, a customer alleged that Cox failed to monitor the customer’s account and invested his assets in unsuitable investments. This dispute is pending.

Subsequently, In November 2014, Cox allegedly provided misleading advice to a customer who applied for two annuities to replace older annuities. This dispute settled for $480,000.

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shutterstock_173849111-227x300The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has ordered Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC to pay more than $3.4 million in restitution to customers for alleged unsuitable recommendations of volatility-linked exchange-traded products (ETPs) and supervisory failures, according to InvestmentNews.

FINRA found that between July 1, 2010, and May 1. 2012, “certain Wells Fargo reps recommended volatility-linked ETFs and ETNs without fully understanding their risks and features.”

According to FINRA, “certain Wells Fargo representatives mistakenly believed that the products could be used as a long-term hedge on their customers’ equity positions in the event of a market downturn. In fact, volatility-linked ETPs are generally short-term trading products that degrade significantly over time and should not be used as part of a long-term buy-and-hold investment strategy.”

shutterstock_186180719-300x216The investment lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the allegations made by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against barred broker Clay Hoffman. In June 2016, Hoffman was suspended by FINRA for his alleged failure to respond to FINRA’s request for information. Hoffman was later barred in November 2016 for his alleged failure to respond to multiple requests for documents and information related to an investigation.

Prior to the most recent suspension, Hoffman’s license as a broker was revoked and suspended, according to BrokerCheck. During May 2016, Hoffman alleged failed to pay a $5,000 fine for a previous case, which resulted in the revocation of his license. Additionally, Hoffman’s broker license was suspended during February 2016 due to the findings that allege that Hoffman engaged unauthorized business practices. Allegedly, Hoffman executed discretionary transactions in a customer’s account without any written authorization from the customer or firm.

In April 2015, a customer complaint was filed against Hoffman for alleged misrepresentation, unsuitability, and unauthorized trading. During his employment at SunTrust Investment and Summit Brokerage Services, Hoffman allegedly caused a loss for his client due to the misrepresentation of Mutual Funds. The alleged damages were $234,697.00 and the case settled at $90,000.

shutterstock_168326705-199x300Our law firm, Gana Weinstein LLP, is investigating claims made by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against advisor Gary Rasmussen. Rasmussen’s BrokerCheck records show customer complaints that allege that Rasmussen engaged in securities law violations, including making unsuitable investments in clients’ accounts.

The most recent customer complaint filed against Rasmussen was filed in October 2016. Allegedly, Rasmussen recommended investment products that were unsuitable and highly risky. The alleged damages are worth $178,892.00. The case is still pending.

In September 2012, a customer filed a complaint against Rasmussen alleging that the financial advisor recommended highly unsuitable investment products. Allegedly, Rasmussen also violated state and federal securities laws such as: failure to properly supervise, breach of his fiduciary duty, and lack of due diligence in the investment. The customer alleges that there was $475,000 in damages and the case is still pending.

shutterstock_102242143-300x169The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the customer complaints against Sean Mcelduff (Mcelduff). Mcelduff has been subject to two customer complaints – both of which pertain to suitability concerns over recommendations for investment products. Mcelduff’s BrokerCheck records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) shows that the most recent customer complaint against Mcelduff was filed in December 2016. The customer alleged that Mcelduff made unsuitable recommendations of Puerto Rican municipal bonds. The alleged damages are worth $260,000. The case is still pending.

In January 2016, another customer complaint was filed against Mcelduff claiming that the broker allegedly purchased unsuitable bonds for the client. The alleged damages were priced at $21,000 and the case was settled for $12,000.

Brokers have a responsibility to 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_103681238-300x300The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are examining multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Scott Goldman (Goldman). Goldman’s FINRA BrokerCheck record shows several disclosures mainly pertaining to unsuitable investments.

In December 2016, an elderly customer alleged that during Goldman’s employment at LPL Financial Corporation, he recommended highly unsuitable investments that were heavily concentrated in risky, leveraged precious metal products. In addition, the broker did not properly inform his client of the risks associated with such an investment. This dispute was settled in December 2016, and resulted in $10,000 penalty and Goldman was suspended from the industry.

Another case against Goldman was filed in October 2014 for allegedly making unsuitable recommendations, failing to supervise, and breaching his fiduciary duty during his employment at H. Beck Inc. The alleged damages were worth $250,000. The case was settled in November 2015 for $75,000.

shutterstock_61142644-300x225Our firm is investigating customer disclosure claims concerning broker John Nelson Crook (Crook). Crook’s FINRA BrokerCheck record shows several disclosures of allegations concerning churning (excessive trading, unauthorized trading, unsuitability, and breach of fiduciary duty. His BrokerCheck records also show a disclosure concerning an employment separation after allegations.

In July 2015, Crook was discharged from Raymond James & Associates Inc due to the findings that that the financial advisor allegedly did not respond in a timely manner to a supervisory review of trading activity. In addition, Crook allegedly did not provide a legitimate explanation for the trading activity in a certain client’s account, which lead to his termination from the firm in July 2015.

The most recent customer complaint against Crook was received in November 2015.During the period between August 2006 and June 2015, Crook allegedly engaged in excessive and unauthorized trading. Crook allegedly also recommended unsuitable investment products to his client, fraudulently misrepresented, and breached his fiduciary duty. The alleged damages are worth over $4 Million and the case is currently pending.

shutterstock_95416924-300x225The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are examining multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Michael Jay Sharenow (Sharenow). Sharenow’s FINRA BrokerCheck record shows several disclosures mainly pertaining to unsuitable investments.

In November 2016, a customer alleged that he or she instructed Sharenow to buy highly rated bonds but Sharenow instead bought two inappropriate securities. This dispute settled in November 2016 for the amount of $8,258.42.

A currently pending case against Sharenow was filed in October 2016 for allegedly over-concentrating a client’s portfolio during the period of 2012 to 2015 while he was employed at Wells Fargo Advisors. The clients claim that the alleged damages are greater than $810,000.00.