According to BrokerCheck records Terry Brodt (Brodt) has been sanctioned by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that, while associated with Garden State Securities, Inc. (Garden State) the broker exercised discretion in a customer’s account without obtaining written authorization or written approval of the account as discretionary from his brokerage firm. FINRA found that Brodt exercised discretion in accounts maintained by customers without written authorization and without approval from Garden State to treat those customer accounts as discretionary. FINRA also found that Brodt provided inaccurate responses about his use of discretion in connection with his firm’s annual compliance questionnaires.
In addition, to the FINRA sanctions Brodt has been subject to five customer complaints, two financial disclosures including a bankruptcy filing in July 2016, and ten judgment or tax liens. Some of the complaints against Brodt allege securities law violations including that the broker engaged in churning (excessive trading) and unauthorized trading among other claims.
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.
The number of complaints against Padilla are unusual compared to his peers. According to newsources, only about 7.3% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records among brokers employed from 2005 to 2015. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters. However, studies have found that there are fraud hotspots such as certain parts of California, New York or Florida, where the rates of disclosure can reach 18% or higher. Moreover, according to the New York Times, BrokerCheck may be becoming increasing inaccurate and understate broker misconduct as studies have shown that 96.9% of broker requests to clean their records of complaints are granted.
Brodt entered the securities industry in 1993. From May 2007 until August 2010 Brodt was associated with Invest Financial Corporation. Since August 2010 Brodt has been associated with Garden State Securities out of the firm’s Red Bank, New Jersey office location.
At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.