The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a number of customer complaints involving Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo) brokers, including financial advisor Charles Lynch (Lynch), concerning allegations that the investors have been recommended or their advisory accounts have been mismanaged to hold high concentrations of energy related investments. According to Lynch’s publicly available records, there are 11 customer complaints with 9 of those complaints being filed in 2015 all related to energy investments. The customer complaints against Lynch allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments among other claims.
Our firm is investigating potential securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks. Our firm has written numerous articles concerning the dangers of MLP investments. MLPs are publicly traded partnerships. About 86% of the total MLP securities market, a $490 billion sector, can be attributed to energy and natural resource companies. However, most of these companies are heavily reliant on high oil prices to sustain their business models.
Before recommending investments in oil and gas and commodities related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to understand the risks and prospects of the company. Many of these companies relied upon high energy prices in order to sustain their operations. As reported by the Wall Street Journal the drop in oil and energy prices and the industry downturn has made it difficult for many companies to refinance their debts.
The number of events listed on Lynch brokercheck is high relative to his peers. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints. In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters. However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck. More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.
Lynch entered the securities industry in 1999. From June 2009 until October 2012, Lynch was associated with Morgan Stanley. Finally, since October 2012 Lynch has been registered with Wells Fargo out of the firm’s Irvine, California office location.
Brokers who sell oil and gas and commodities products are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients. Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.