The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is currently representing a Client of Joseph Michael Todd who has filed an arbitration claim against his employer, Centaurus Financial, Inc. Joseph Michael Todd Formerly With Centaurus Financial, Inc. and Investors Capital Corp. Has Three (3) Customer Complaints For Alleged Broker Misconduct. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with Joseph Michael Todd and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Update: SEC Files Suit Against Joseph Michael Todd The SEC finally filed suit against Joseph Michael Todd (“Todd”) engaging in a fraudulent scheme from at least August 2016 through at least November 2022, where he allegedly misappropriated at least $3 million from at least 20 customers of Centaurus Financial, LLC (“Centaurus”), a dually registered broker-dealer and investment adviser that employed Todd as a registered representative. Todd obtained investor funds through deceptive means by instructing his Centaurus customers to write checks payable to his entities Todd Financial Services, LLC (“TFS”) and/or TFS Insurance Services LLC (“TFS Insurance”) or to Todd himself by falsely assuring customers that he and his entities would invest their funds in various securities. Instead, Todd commingled investors’ funds and kept the money for his own personal use, spending it on lavish real estate, boating, hunting, casinos, and adult entertainment. Todd perpetuated the fraud by making material misrepresentations to customers regarding the use of their funds in meetings that took place in person, in phone conversations, and in documents that he prepared and provided to customers. The SEC accused Todd and his entities because of their conduct, Todd, TFS, and TFS Insurance knowingly or recklessly committed securities fraud. In violation of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) [15 U.S.C. §§ 77e(a), 77e(c), and 77q(a)] and Todd, TFS, and TFS Insurance violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) [15 U.S.C. § 78j(b)] and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5]. The SEC brought the lawsuit to prevent further harm to investors and to seek disgorgement, civil penalties, permanent injunctions, and conduct-based injunctions stemming from the Defendants’ wrongdoing, and a permanent officer-and-director bar against Todd. Joseph Michael Todd Was Terminated by Centaurus Financial, Inc. On July 21, 2022, Joseph Michael Todd was terminated by Centaurus Financial, Inc. for not cooperating with an ongoing investigation into whether Joseph Michael Todd violated firm policy and industry rules with respect to allegations of selling away and the receipt of customer funds. Our law firm was contacted by a customer of Joseph Michael Todd alleging misappropriation or theft of funds. We are currently investigating such claims and are accepting clients who were victims of Joseph Michael Todd’s alleged misconduct. Joseph Michael Todd was fired from Centaurus Financial in July 2022, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck. Michael Todd was terminated from Centaurus Financial because of claims he sold investments not authorized by the company, a common practice known as “selling away.” Did Joseph Michael Todd Cause You Investment Losses? Joseph Michael Todd, also known as Michael Todd, Formerly With Centaurus Financial, Inc. and Investors Capital Corp. Has Three (3) Customer Complaints For Alleged Broker Misconduct. If you believe you have suffered investment losses resulting from the conduct of Joseph Michael Todd at Centaurus Financial and Investors Capital Corp. you can contact the securities attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Joseph Michael Todd Customer Complaints Joseph Michael Todd has been the subject of three (3) customer complaints that we know about, one (1) of those complaints was filed in 2022 to recover investment losses. And One (1) of Joseph Michael Todd’s three (3) customer complaints were settled in favor of investors. However, one (1) of Joseph Michael Todd’s customer complaints was closed, and the customers have not taken any further action. There is currently one (1) pending customer complaint filed against Joseph Michael Todd’s former employer Centaurus Financial, Inc. for investment losses caused by alleged misconduct. Allegations Against Joseph Michael Todd A sample of the allegations made in the FINRA reported arbitration claim settlements and/or pending complaints for investment losses are as follows: We currently represent a Client of Joseph Michael Todd who have filed an arbitration claim against his employer, Centaurus Financial, Inc. A summary of the allegations made in the FINRA arbitration filed for investment losses realized by the Claimant were as follows: 1. Introduction Respondent Centaurus employed Joseph Michael Todd (hereafter referred to as either “Mike” or “Mr. Todd”) and held him out as registered representative, investment adviser, investment manager, financial adviser, and financial planner with special skills and expertise in the management of securities portfolios and financial, estate, retirement, and tax planning matters. Centaurus hired Mr. Todd after he was terminated by two prior broker-dealers for violations of industry rules, firm policies and procedures, including allegations of selling unapproved investments and misappropriation. It also permitted Mr. Todd to operate his Centaurus branch offices under the name “Todd Financial Services” as “a DBA for branding purposes.” The Respondent is being sued in its capacity as broker-dealer and investment adviser, investment portfolio manager, financial planner, and/or as an employer whose employees and agents, including, but not limited to, Mr. Todd, committed the acts and omissions which are the subject of this Statement of Claim. Claimant is a 62-year-old single woman back working 3 months after she had retired and discovered that her Centaurus’ stockbroker and investment advisor Mr. Todd did the following: 1) Stole $425,000 of her funds that were supposed to have been invested in safe, liquid, fixed income securities for her retirement security and income; 2) Acted in his own “best interest” instead of Claimant’s “best interest” in soliciting her to sell $420,000 of her investment grade municipal bonds and reinvesting the sales proceeds in illiquid and high-risk...Continue Reading
OUR STOCKBROKER FRAUD CASES & INVESTIGATIONS
For over 40 years, Attorney Pearce and his staff members at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. have worked on and continue to work on a wide variety of securities, commodities and investment disputes for investors arising out of stock brokerage, commodity brokerage, insurance and other financial service company’s’ employees, representatives and agents’ misconduct. We represent investors with securities and commodities law issues and a broad range of other practice areas in courtroom litigation, arbitration and mediation proceedings from offices in Boca Raton, Florida across the United States.
Our Florida Attorneys Handle Stockbroker Fraud Cases & Investigations Nationwide
The most common investor claims have been claims for misrepresentation, failure to disclose important information, unsuitable recommendations, churning or excessive trading, and unauthorized trading in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and options in violation of federal and state statutes, common law and industry rules. However, in the past three years, most of our cases have arisen out of the latest wave of investment products, widespread misconduct with the same investment firms, branch offices and/or brokers. We are presently engaged in a number of cases and investigations involving not only the so-called “garden variety” stock, bond and option claims but many other types of misrepresented and mismanaged investment products and fraudulent schemes.
A brief description of some of our current stockbroker fraud Cases and Investigations with links to other pages within our website and Investors Rights Blog to help answer your questions and help you recover your losses is below:
DID DAVID RAY BARNES CAUSE YOU INVESTMENT LOSSES? David Barnes Of UBS Financial Services And Formerly With Credit Suisse Securities (USA) Has A Customer Complaint For Alleged Broker Misconduct Recent News: The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. Helps Investor Recover Investment Losses Caused by David Barnes The Claimant is a 73-year-old widow residing in Dallas, Texas. She was married until her husband passed away on March 30, 2016. The Respondent, UBS Financial Services, Inc. (“UBS”), is a Delaware corporation with its principal headquarters in Weehawken, New Jersey. The Respondent UBS employed David Barnes (“Barnes”) and held him out and other UBS employees on his team as investment advisers, investment managers, financial advisers, and financial planners with special skills and expertise in the management of securities portfolios and financial, estate, retirement, and tax planning matters. Barnes held several professional certifications which would indicate he knew or should have known his conduct in managing Claimants accounts was below the acceptable standard of care, namely: Chartered Financial Analyst (“CFA”), Certified Financial Planner (“CFP”), and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (“CAIA”). The claims in this arbitration included but were not limited to: (1) Barnes’ failure to employ modern portfolio techniques such as asset allocation and diversification to protect Claimants’ assets from unreasonable risk of loss beginning March 2019; (2) Barnes’ and others’ failure safeguard and protect Claimants’ assets from an unreasonable risk of loss in July 2019 and thereafter; (3) Barnes’ and others’ failure to perform their fiduciary and contractual duties to sell securities and reduce the debt promptly and in a manner to serve the best interest; (4) Barnes’ false and misleading Claimants about the performance of securities and accounts; (5) Barnes’ false and misleading statements about his investment strategy and availability of alternative strategies; (6) Barnes false and misleading Claimants about risk of continuing to “hold” an unsuitable, undiversified, and over-leveraged investment strategy in Claimants’ UBS managed accounts; (7) Barnes’ unsuitable “hold” recommendations in connection with the undiversified and over-leveraged securities accounts managed by Barnes on February 13, 2020 and thereafter; and (8) UBS’ and Barnes’ failure to refrain from self-dealing and conflicts of interest relating to the investment advice given regarding Claimants’ variable credit-lines and investment strategy recommendations. Obviously, the arbitrators thought that UBS’s David Barnes engaged in misconduct because after considering the pleadings, the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, and any post-hearing submissions, the Panel decided in full and final resolution of the issues submitted for determination as follows: Respondent is liable for and shall pay to Claimant the sum of $380,158.00 in compensatory damages. Respondent is liable for and shall pay to Claimant interest on the above-stated sum at the rate of 5% per annum from August 9, 2022, through and including the date this Award is paid in full. Respondent is liable for and shall pay to Claimant the sum of $152,063.20 in attorneys’ fees pursuant to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. If you had a similar experience with David Barnes then you may want to consider contacting our law firm about the viability of your claims and ability to recover your investment losses.Continue Reading
C. Raymond Weldon Of Independent Financial Group, LLC And Formerly With The Investment Center, Inc. and Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Has Six Customer Complaints For Alleged Broker Misconduct. C. Raymond Weldon has been the subject of at least six (6) customer complaints that we know about to recover investment losses. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. currently represent five of his customers in a FINRA arbitration claim against Weldon’s employers. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with C. Raymond Weldon and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Raymond Weldon Customer Complaints Weldon has been the subject of at least six (6) customer complaints that we know about to recover investment losses. We currently represent five of his customers against Weldon’s employers. A summary of the allegations made in the FINRA arbitration filed for investment losses realized by five of Weldon’s clients were as follows: 1. Introduction Claimants filed an arbitration claim against Respondents Cetera Advisors Networks, LLC (“CAN”), The Investment center, Inc. (“TIC”), and (“IFG”) for their registered representative C. Raymond Weldon (“Weldon”) failure to act in Claimants’ “best interest,” and his unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentations, misleading statements, acts, and omissions. Weldon had written discretionary authority to manage Claimants’ accounts and failed to do so. Respondents CAN and TIC formerly employed and IFG who currently employs Weldon held him out and other employees on his team as stockbrokers, investment advisers, investment managers, financial advisers, and financial planners with special skills and expertise in the management of securities portfolios and financial, estate, retirement, and tax planning matters. Weldon was a Chartered Financial Consultant, a professional with a certification which would indicate Respondents and Weldon knew or should have known his mismanagement Claimants’ accounts was in breach of his fiduciary duties and below the acceptable standard of care of professionals like him. 2. THE RELEVANT FACTS All Claimants, except one Claimant’s wife, worked together. They were introduced to Weldon as an investment manager who successfully managed securities brokerage accounts for a local synagogue and many of its members. With one limited exception, none of the Claimants had any securities brokerage accounts or experience investing in the stock or bond markets before they met Weldon. They were all interested in saving for retirement and he solicited them to establish an investment advisory and brokerage relationship for that purpose. Claimants Richard, Anthony, Alex, Chris, and, later on, Jessica, opened small, unleveraged, and well diversified mutual fund investment accounts, which Weldon managed for a fee on an annualized basis (the “ProFunds Accounts”). The Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC (“CAN”) Accounts In or about October 2020, Weldon boasted about his performance in managing the ProFunds Accounts and introduced them to another type of customized stock brokerage account he managed for synagogue members. He encouraged Claimants to open additional accounts with him to invest in the stock market for their retirement (the “CAN Accounts”). Weldon met with Claimants and showed them documents related to his performance managing other clients’ accounts. He spoke with the other Claimants over the telephone about his performance record. He provided little detail about his management style other than he had a “track record” for substantially growing the assets deposited in his clients’ securities brokerage accounts and preserving assets for their retirement. Weldon claimed that his pro-active management style allowed him to maximize growth in the up markets and minimize losses in down markets. There was no discussion with them about the true nature, mechanics, or risks of the highly leveraged and overly concentrated investment strategy he deployed in the technology sector of the stock market. The individual Claimants gathered assets from savings, bonuses, and/or refinanced real estate to open and deposit cash in their CAN Accounts. They each deposited substantial amount of money in each of their accounts in December of that year and the following year for Weldon to manage for their retirement. The Claimants’ employer was the last to open an account and deposit funds it had reserved for working capital in January 2021. Weldon prepared and all the Claimants signed management agreements and gave Weldon the authority to manage their accounts on margin without any prior consultation about the investments being made or strategy deployed and paid him a management fee to do so. Claimants did not realize Weldon’s papers also allowed Respondents to get paid commissions on each transaction in their accounts. Weldon also prepared and completed new account opening documents and agreements for managed accounts with false and/or misleading information to suit his strategy and his own “best interest,” as opposed to Claimants. For example, he wrote that one Claimant that was a construction company had over 20 years’ experience investing in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds when he knew it did not even exist until 2013 and never had any securities brokerage accounts. Further, Weldon knew that the company was depositing working capital which needed to be conservatively invested in non-volatile liquid investments and yet he falsely identified the company’s investment objective as “aggressive growth” and risk tolerance as “significant” meaning “an investor who seeks maximum return and accepts the risk of significant volatility and decreases in the value of a portfolio.” According to Weldon, the company had no need for liquidity, which was untrue. These were not clerical errors; rather, they were intentional mischaracterizations by Weldon to slip under the Compliance Department’s radar and manage the accounts in a speculative manner against Claimants’ instructions. Weldon regularly encouraged Claimants to bring in more money for him to manage. Why? Because it was in his “best interest,” not the Claimants. The greater the total account market value, the greater the management fees which were based upon assets under management. The more money Claimants deposited, the more transactions and more commissions, Respondents and he received, in addition...Continue Reading
The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is representing two Co-Trustees of a family trust in a FINRA arbitration case against United Planners’ Financial Services of America and AG Financial advisor Aaron Graham for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, professional negligence, negligence, and negligent supervision and fraudulent concealment of Graham’s misconduct. Aaron Graham Of United Planners’ Financial Services Of America A Limited Partner And AG Financial Has 4 Customer Complaints For Alleged Broker Misconduct. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is currently representing two Co-Trustees of a family trust who have filed an arbitration claim against his employer, United Planners’ Financial Services Of America, and Aaron Graham himself. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with Aaron Graham and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Aaron Graham Customer Complaints Aaron Graham has been the subject of 4 customer complaints that we know about. Two of Aaron Graham’s customer complaints were settled in favor of investors. One of Aaron Graham’s customers’ complaints was denied, and, to date, the customer has not taken any further action. We represent another customer whose arbitration claim was recently filed and is pending. Current Allegations Against Aaron Graham A sample of the allegations made in the previously FINRA reported arbitration claim settlements and/or complaints for investment losses were as follows: We currently represent two Co-Trustees of a family trust who have filed an arbitration claim against his employer, United Planners’ Financial Services Of America and Aaron Graham himself. A summary of the allegations made in the FINRA arbitration filed for investment losses realized by the family’s trust were as follows: 1. Introduction Beginning in the late summer 2017, Graham, who had written discretionary authority to manage Claimants’ account in a reasonable manner, deployed a highly speculative strategy involving speculative investments and an excessive amount of leverage, which were inconsistent with Claimants instructions, needs, financial condition, and agreements related to their brokerage and investment advisory relationships. Graham mismanaged Claimants’ TDA account and made other investments for Claimants in violation of securities law, state and securities industry rules and regulations, and brokerage and/or advisory agreements. Respondent Graham is a registered representative and agent of and employed by United Planners Financial Services of America (“UP”) and was held out as a stockbroker, investment advisor, investment manager, financial advisor, and financial planner with special skills and expertise in the management of securities portfolios and financial, estate, retirement, and tax planning matters. Graham was a Certified Trust Financial Advisor (CTFA), a designation he held since 1999 for expertise in trust and other fiduciary matters. As a registered principal with UP, Graham held FINRA Series 7, 9, 24, 63 and 65 and various insurance licenses. This arbitration was filed by Claimants as Co-Trustees of their family’s trust against Respondent UP and its registered representative Graham for his breach of brokerage and advisory agreements, statutory and common law fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, negligence, failures to act in Claimants’ “best interest,” unsuitable recommendations, misrepresentations, omissions, misleading statements, and other acts and omissions, which were fraudulently concealed from Claimants. 2. The Relevant Facts Claimants are 68 and 63 years, respectively. Neither one has had any education beyond high school. They both went to work immediately thereafter. They have been married since 1980 and have children. The husband went to work in the oil fields with his father, and the wife became a dental assistant. In 1999, the Claimants formed a company that drilled the initial conductors, mouseholes, and ratholes for oil producers before they constructed the drilling rigs that drilled for the oil. This was the family business that the husband learned from his father. After his father retired, the husband set out on his own and became very successful in a short period. By 2008, the Claimants had accumulated several million dollars and were introduced to Graham through their friends in the oil business. Neither one of the Co-Trustees had any education or experience investing in the stock or bond markets prior to meeting him. Graham would travel from his Salt Lake City office to meet with his clients. On those occasions, he would stop by the Claimants’ office to visit and solicit their business. Eventually, Graham was successful in persuading the Claimants to open a TDA account, which Graham managed for a management fee on a discretionary basis. In 2010, the Co-Trustees sold their company and deposited all the sales proceeds along with their other savings previously deposited into the TDA account managed by Graham. By the end of 2010, Respondent UP’s agent Graham controlled $12.5 million of the Claimants’ life savings held in trust for them. Graham managed the TDA account exclusively; he did not consult with Claimants with respect to any transaction therein. In or about 2011 Graham began to distribute $15,000 per month to Claimants. The next year he increased the distribution to $25,000 per month to Claimants. From inception of the relationship, Graham continuously assured Claimants they would have more than enough funds for a lifetime of distributions at a rate of $25,000/month. Indeed, this might have been true if Graham had only continued to manage the account as he was instructed and agreed. Initially, Claimants received monthly account statements from TDA at Claimants’ business office PO Box address. Graham also supplied Claimants with written reports supposedly summarizing the account activity and performance of the account. However, after the sale of the business, Claimants only received Graham’s summary reports and annuity statements at their home. Graham never notified TDA that the Claimants sold their business, moved, and no longer received TDA statements that may have been delivered to their former business office. When Claimants asked Graham about the whereabouts of the TDA statements, he told them he was receiving them and all they needed...Continue Reading
The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has filed another case against Ex-J.P. Morgan broker Ed Turley for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has filed another case against J.P. Morgan Securities for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts continuing in fall 2019 and thereafter by Edward Turley (“Turley”), a former “Vice-Chairman” of J.P. Morgan. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan and Mr. Turley and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Latest Updates on Ed Turley – November 18, 2022 The Advisor Hub reported today that the former star broker with J.P. Morgan Advisors in San Francisco Edward Turley agreed to an industry bar rather than cooperate with FINRA’s probe of numerous allegations of excessive and unauthorized trading that resulted in more than $100 million worth of customer complaints. FINRA had initiated its investigation of Edward Turley as it related to numerous customer complaints in 2020. The regulator noted in its Acceptance Waiver and Consent Agreement (AWC) that the investors had generally alleged “sales practice violations including improper exercise of discretion and unsuitable trading.” According to Edward Turley’s BrokerCheck report, he had been fired in August 2021 for “loss of confidence concerning adherence to firm policies and brokerage order handling requirements.” On October 28th, FINRA requested Turley provide on-the-record testimony related to his trading patterns, including the “use of foreign currency and margin, and the purchasing and selling of high-yield bonds and preferred stock,” but Edward Turley through counsel declined to do so. As a result, Edward Turley violated FINRA’s Rule 8210 requiring cooperation with enforcement probes, and its catch-all Rule 2010 requiring “high standards of commercial honor,” the regulator said and he was barred permanently from the securities industry. Related Read: Can You Sue a Financial Advisor or Stockbroker Over Losses? Turley Allegedly Misrepresented And Misled Claimants About His Investment Strategy The claims arise out of Turley’s “one-size-fits-all” fixed income credit spread investment strategy involving high-yield “junk” bonds, preferred stocks, exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), and foreign bonds. Instead of purchasing those securities in ordinary margin accounts, Turley executed foreign currency transactions to raise capital and leverage clients’ accounts to earn undisclosed commissions. Turley over-leveraged and over-concentrated his best and biggest clients’ accounts, including Claimants’ accounts, in junk bonds, preferred stocks, and MLPs in the financial and energy sectors, which are notoriously illiquid and subject to sharp price declines when the financial markets become stressed as they did in March 2020. In the beginning and throughout the investment advisory relationship, Turley described his investment strategy to Claimants as one which would generate “equity returns with very low bond-type risk.” Turley and his partners also described the strategy to clients and prospects as one “which provided equity-like returns without equity-like risk.” J.P. Morgan supervisors even documented Turley’s description of the strategy as “creating portfolio with similar returns, but less volatility than an all-equity portfolio.” Note: It appears that no J.P. Morgan supervisor ever checked to see if the representations were true and if anybody did, they would have known Turley was lying and have directly participated in the scheme. The Claimants’ representative was also told Turley used leverage derived from selling foreign currencies, Yen and Euros, to get the “equity-like” returns he promised. Turley also told the investor not to be concerned because he “carefully” added leverage to enhance returns. According to Turley, the securities of the companies he invested in for clients “did not move up or down like the stock market,” so there was no need to worry about him using leverage in Claimants’ accounts and their cash would be available whenever it was needed. The Claimants’ representative was not the only client who heard this from Turley; that is, he did not own volatile stocks and not to worry about leverage. Turley did not discuss the amount of leverage he used in clients’ accounts, which ranged from 1:1 to 3:1, nor did Turley discuss the risks currency transactions added to the portfolio, margin calls or forced liquidations as a result of his investment strategy. After all, Turley knew he could get away without disclosing those risks. This was because J.P. Morgan suppressed any margin calls being sent to Turley’s clients and he liquidated securities on his own to meet those margin calls without alarming clients. This “one-size-fits-all” strategy was a recipe for disaster. J.P. Morgan and Turley have both admitted that Turley’s investment strategy was not suitable for any investor whose liquid net worth was fully invested in the strategy. It was especially unsuitable for those customers like Claimants who had other plans for the funds in their J.P. Morgan accounts in fall 2019 and spring 2020. Unfortunately, Turley recommended and managed the “one-size-fits-all” strategy for his best clients and friends, including Claimants. Turley was Claimants’ investment advisor and portfolio manager and required under the law to serve them as a “fiduciary.” He breached his “fiduciary” duties in making misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The most egregious breach was his failure to take any action to protect his clients at the end of February 2020, when J.P. Morgan raised the red flags about COVID-19 and recommended defensive action be taken in clients’ accounts. Turley Allegedly Managed Claimants’ Accounts Without Written Discretionary Authority Claimants’ representative hired Turley to manage his “dry powder,” the cash in Claimants’ accounts at J.P. Morgan, which he would need on short notice when business opportunities arose. At one point, Claimants had over $100 million on deposit with J.P. Morgan. It was not...Continue Reading
Structured notes are investments that combine securities from several asset classes to create a single investment with a particular risk and return profile over a time period. Unfortunately, investment loss is not unheard of with structured notes. This article will try to explain how a structured note works and what you can do if you have lost money due to an advisor’s bad purchase decisions for you. Can I Sue My Financial Advisor For Structured Note Investment Losses? Yes, you can sue your financial advisor for structured note investment losses for one or more of the following reasons: What Are Structured Notes? Structured notes are investments which often combine securities of different asset classes as one investment for a desired risk and return over a period of time. They are complex investments that are often misunderstood by not only investors but the financial advisors who recommend them. Structured notes are manufactured by financial institutions in all sizes and shapes. Generally, a structured note is an unsecured obligation of an issuer with a return, generally paid at maturity, that is linked to the performance of an underlying asset, such as a securities market index, exchange traded fund, and/or individual stocks. The return on the structured note will depend on the performance of the underlying asset and the specific features of the investment being made. The different features and risks of structured notes can affect the terms and issuance, returns at maturity, and the value of the structured product before maturity. They may have limited or no liquidity before maturity. Before investing, you better make sure you understand the terms and conditions and risks associated with the structured note being offered. Structured notes are often represented as investments being guaranteed by large financial institutions. Indeed, the top issuers of structured notes in 2021, Goldman Sachs (12.75%), Morgan Stanley (12.70%), Citigroup (12.46%), J.P. Morgan (11.92%), UBS (80.47%), Credit Suisse (4.99%), RBC (4.45%), Bank of America (3.90%), Scotiabank (3.89%), are some of the largest financial institutions in the world. It’s important to understand that although the benefits of owning structured products may be guaranteed to be paid by one of those large financial institutions, the amount of interest or principal being guaranteed is dependent upon the features of the product being sold; that is, the specific terms and conditions of the investment contract being purchased. In this low-interest rate environment the most popular structured notes being offered are structured notes with principal protection and income features. Some of the structured notes offer full principal protection, but others offer partial or no protection of principal at all. Some structured notes offer higher rates of interest that may be paid monthly and then suddenly stop paying any interest at all because payment was contingent upon certain events not happening. It all depends on the terms and conditions of the investment contract being purchased, which is why you must read the term sheet or better yet the prospectus to understand the nature, mechanics and risks of the structured note being sold. You need to understand that there are many key terms beyond the words “guarantor” and “guaranteed” which are used often to describe structured notes. You need to ask about and be sure to understand the following features of the structured notes being offered: Are Structured Notes Suitable Investments? Let me answer that question this way, a particular structured note may be suitable for somebody but not everybody. With regard to the more common structured notes being offered by the major financial institutions these days, they are not suitable for individuals seeking an investment that: They are not suitable investments if you are someone who: Have You Suffered Structured Note Investment Losses? Unfortunately, the lure of higher commissions have in recent years provided added incentives to stockbrokers to recommend structured notes to investors, including those for whom they were inappropriate, too risky, or never in alignment with their investment goals, including, the following types of structured notes: It’s a shock to many investors who sought to avoid market volatility by investing in structured notes. Many who thought they would receive a steady stream of income and guaranteed return of principal have suffered sharp and unexpected losses in structured notes with “reference assets” like Peloton, ARK, Alibaba, Meta(Facebook), Zillow, Yeti, etc. Depending on the other features of those structured notes, the loss of income and principal could be realized permanently. How Can I Recover My Structured Note Investment Losses? There is no way you will recover your structured note investment losses without some legal action. At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we represent investors in all kinds of structured note investment disputes in FINRA arbitration and mediation proceedings. The claims we file are for fraud and misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, failure to supervise, and unsuitable recommendations in violation of FINRA rules and industry standards. Attorney Pearce and his staff represent investors across the United States on a CONTINGENCY FEE basis which means you pay nothing – NO FEES-NO COSTS – unless we put money in your pocket after receiving a settlement or FINRA arbitration award. CONTACT US FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. have highly experienced investment fraud lawyers who have successfully handled many structured note cases and other securities law matters and investment disputes in FINRA arbitration proceedings, and who work tirelessly to secure the best possible result for you and your case. For dedicated representation by an attorney with over 40 years of experience and success in structured product cases and all kinds of securities law and investment disputes, contact the firm by phone at 561-338-0037, toll free at 800-732-2889 or via e-mail.Continue Reading
Many investors have heard of margin accounts and the horror stories of others who invested on margin and suffered substantial losses. But few investors understand that securities-backed lines of credit (SBL) accounts, which have been aggressively promoted by brokerage firms in the last decade, are just as dangerous as margin accounts. This is largely due to the fact that the equity and bond markets have been on an upward trend since 2009 and few investors (unless you are a Puerto Rico investor) have experienced market slides resulting in margin calls due to the insufficient amount of collateral in the SBL accounts. Securities-Backed Lines of Credit Overview It is only over the last several months of market volatility that investors have begun to feel the wrath of margin calls and understand the high risks associated with investing in SBL accounts. For investors considering your stockbroker’s offer of a line of credit (a loan at a variable or fixed rate of interest) to finance a residence, a boat, or to pay taxes or for your child’s college education, you may want to read a little more about the nature, mechanics, and risks of SBL accounts before you sign the collateral account agreement and pledge away your life savings to the brokerage firm in exchange for the same loan you could have obtained from another bank without all the risk associated with SBL accounts. First, it may be helpful to understand just why SBL accounts have become so popular over the last decade. It should be no surprise that the primary reason for your stockbroker’s offering of an SBL is that both the brokerage firm and he/she make money. Over many years, the source of revenues for brokerage firms has shifted from transaction-based commissions to fee-based investments, limited partnerships, real estate investment trusts (REITs), structured products, managed accounts, and income earned from lending money to clients in SBL and margin accounts. Many more investors seem to be aware of the danger of borrowing in margin accounts for the purposes of buying and selling securities, so the brokerage firms expanded their banking activities with their banking affiliates to expand the market and their profitability in the lending arena through SBL accounts. The typical sales pitch is that SBL accounts are an easy and inexpensive way to access cash by borrowing against the assets in your investment portfolio without having to liquidate any securities you own so that you can continue to profit from your stockbroker’s supposedly successful and infallible investment strategy. Today the SBL lending business is perhaps one of the more profitable divisions at any brokerage firm and banking affiliate offering that product because the brokerage firm retains assets under management and the fees related thereto and the banking affiliate earns interest income from another market it did not otherwise have direct access to. For the benefit of the novice investor, let me explain the basics of just how an SBL account works. An SBL account allows you to borrow money using securities held in your investment accounts as collateral for the loan. The Danger of Investing in SBL Accounts Once the account is established and you received the loan proceeds, you can continue to buy and sell securities in that account, so long as the value of the securities in the account exceeds the minimum collateral requirements of the banking affiliate, which can change just like the margin requirements at a brokerage firm. Assuming you meet those collateral requirements, you only make monthly interest-only payments and the loan remains outstanding until it is repaid. You can pay down the loan balance at any time, and borrow again and pay it down, and borrow again, so long as the SBL account has sufficient collateral and you make the monthly interest-only payments in your SBL account. In fact, the monthly interest-only payments can be paid by borrowing additional money from the bank to satisfy them until you reach a credit limit or the collateral in your account becomes insufficient at your brokerage firm and its banking affiliate’s discretion. We have heard some stockbrokers describe SBLs as equivalent to home equity lines, but they are not really the same. Yes, they are similar in the sense that the amount of equity in your SBL account, like your equity in your house, is collateral for a loan, but you will not lose your house without notice or a lengthy foreclosure process. On the other hand, you can lose all of your securities in your SBL account if the market goes south and the brokerage firm along with its banking affiliate sell, without prior notice, all of the securities serving as collateral in the SBL account. You might ask how can that happen; that is, sell the securities in your SBL account, without notice? Well, when you open up an SBL account, the brokerage firm and its banking affiliate and you will execute a contract, a loan agreement that specifies the maximum amount the bank will agree to lend you in exchange for your agreement to pledge your investment account assets as collateral for the loan. You also agree in that contract that if the value of your securities declines to an amount that is no longer sufficient to secure your line of credit, you must agree to post additional collateral or repay the loan upon demand. Lines of credit are typically demand loans, meaning the banking affiliate can demand repayment in full at any time. Generally, you will receive a “maintenance call” from the brokerage firm and/or its banking affiliate notifying you that you must post additional collateral or repay the loan in 3 to 5 days or, if you are unable to do so, the brokerage firm will liquidate your securities and keep the cash necessary to satisfy the “maintenance call” or, in some cases, use the proceeds to pay off the entire loan. But I want to emphasize, the brokerage firm and its banking affiliate, under the terms of almost all SBL account agreements,...Continue Reading
Investors With “Blown-Out” Securities-Backed Credit Line and Margin Accounts: How do You Recover Your Investment Losses?
If you are reading this article, we are guessing you had a bad experience recently in either a securities-backed line of credit (“SBL”) or margin account that suffered margin calls and was liquidated without notice, causing you to realize losses. Ordinarily, investors with margin calls receive 3 to 5 days to meet them; and if that happened, the value of the securities in your account might have increased within that period and the firm might have erased the margin call and might not have liquidated your account. If you are an investor who has experienced margin calls in the past, and that is your only complaint then, read no further because when you signed the account agreement with the brokerage firm you chose to do business with, you probably gave it the right to liquidate all of the securities in your account at any time without notice. On the other hand, if you are an investor with little experience or one with a modest financial condition who was talked into opening a securities-backed line of credit account without being advised of the true nature, mechanics, and/or risks of opening such an account, then you should call us now! Alternatively, if you are an investor who needed to withdraw money for a house or to pay for your taxes or child’s education but was talked into holding a risky or concentrated portfolio of stocks and/or junk bonds in a pledged collateral account for a credit-line or a margin account, then we can probably help you recover your investment losses as well. The key to a successful recovery of your investment loss is not to focus on the brokerage firm’s liquidation of the securities in your account without notice. Instead, the focus on your case should be on what you were told and whether the recommendation was suitable for you before you opened the account and suffered the liquidation.Continue Reading
We introduced the new U.S. Securities & Exchanges Commission (SEC) Regulation Best Interest (Reg. BI) just after it went into effect and summarized the four obligations now being imposed upon broker-dealers and their associated persons with respect to any post June 30, 2020 securities-related recommendations, namely:Continue Reading