Articles Tagged with Timothy O’Brien

shutterstock_186471755-300x200According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) financial advisor Timothy O’Brien (O’Brien), formerly employed by Feltl & Company has been subject to numerous disclosures including at least six customer complaints, two criminal matters, four judgement or tax liens, and regulatory complaints during the course of his career.  O’Brien customer complaints alleges that O’Brien recommended unsuitable investments, made misrepresentations, and overconcentrated investments relating to the handling of client accounts.

In November 2020 O’Brien consented to FINRA findings and sanctions that he placed unauthorized trades in a customer’s account. FINRA found that O’Brien sold a limited partnership position in the customer’s account and purchased Class A shares of a mutual fund. FINRA found that O’Brien then attempted to call the customer to discuss the trades but did not reach her before executing the transactions.

In July 2020 a customer complained that O’Brien violated the securities laws by alleging that O’Brien made unsuitable investments, over concentration, and misrepresentation resulting in excessive losses in the account.  The claim alleged $450,000 in damages and settled for $350,000.

O’Brien has several large tax liens.  Such disclosures on a broker’s CRD can be a red flag that the broker may be influenced to engage in high commission activity in order to satisfy personal debts.  In addition, a broker’s inability to manage their own finances is relevant in a customer’s decision to use their services. Continue Reading

shutterstock_1744162The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned broker Timothy O’Brien (O’Brien) alleging that O’Brien exercised discretion in two customers’ accounts without obtaining prior written authorization from the customers. O’Brien is associated with brokerage firm Felt & Company.

The FINRA rules provide that registered representatives shall not exercise discretionary power in a customer’s account unless the customer has given prior written authorization to a stated broker and the account has been accepted by the member on that basis. FINRA found that O’Brien was the registered representative for two Felt customers. FINRA determined that in handling the customers’ accounts O’Brien periodically discussed trading strategies with these two customers. However, FINRA alleged that these customers did not give O’Brien written authorization to exercise discretion in their accounts nor did Felt approve these accounts as discretionary accounts. From July 2012, through February 2013, FINRA found that O’Brien used discretion to execute approximately 171 transactions in these customers’ accounts.

Often times unauthorized discretionary trading goes hand and hand with churning, trading that broker engages in solely to generate commissions at the client’s expense. In order to establish a churning claim the investor must show that the trading was first excessive and second that the broker had control over the investment strategy. 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 and whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably be expected to profit from the activity.

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