Wells Fargo Broker Mitchell Rock Subject to Suitability Complaints

shutterstock_182371613-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Mitchell Rock (Rock), currently employed by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (Wells Fargo) has been subject to nine customer complaints.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), most of Rock’s customer complaints allege that Rock made unsuitable recommendations in a variety of investments structured products.

In July 2018 a customer complained that Rock violated the securities laws by telling the cliet that the accounts were subject to a certain rate for fees and commissions that were not correct and that his accounts were charged more than the rate that was told to him.  The customer alleges $500,000 in damages.  The claim was denied by the firm.

In November 2012 a customer complained that Rock violated the securities laws by making an investment that the broker represented would make a profit.  The claim was denied by the firm.

In September 2012 a customer complained that Rock violated the securities laws by making unsuitable investments in structured products causing $175,000 in damages.  The claim settled for $61,000.

Brokers are required under the securities laws to treat their clients fairly.  This obligation includes the duties to disclose material risks of the investments they recommend and to present products, particularly complex or confusing products, in a fair and balanced manner that allows the client to evaluate the recommendation.  Another important obligation advisors have is to make only suitable recommendations for investments to the client.  There are many investments that are not appropriate for the majority of investors or for certain investors given their risk tolerance, age, and other factors.  Advisors should not present these investment options to clients.  There are two screens that advisors must employ to determine whether an investment is suitable for a client.  First, there must be a reasonable basis for the recommendation – meaning that the product has been investigated and due diligence conducted into the investment’s features, benefits, risks, and other relevant factors.  The advisor must conclude that the investment is suitable for at least some investors and some securities may be suitable for no one.  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.

According to newsources, a study revealed that 7.3% of financial advisors had a customer complaint on their record when records from 2005 to 2015 were examined.  Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their BrokerCheck reports that include customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, terminations, and criminal cases.  In addition, research has show a disturbing pattern with troublesome brokers where brokers with high numbers of customer complaints are not kicked out of the industry but instead these brokers are sifted to lower quality brokerage firms with loose hiring practices and higher rates of customer complaints.  These lower quality firms may average brokers with five times as many complaints as the industry average.

Rock entered the securities industry in 1986.  From June 2009 through Setpember2016 Rock was registered with Morgan Stanley.  Since, August 2016 Rock has been registered with Wells Fargo out of the firm’s New York, New York office location.

Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation.  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.