Articles Tagged with advisor hub

cropped-High-Res-TA-2018-2019-284x300Morgan Stanley terminated around ten brokers following a nationwide probe of alleged abuses in its inherited account program, according to lawyers, firm sources and former managers per advisor Hub.  Miller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of Morgan Stanley who are victims of, and suffered damages and losses, due to these abuses.

The investigation was prompted by complaints about underpayments from at least one retired broker who entered the Former Advisor Program (FAP), a so-called sunsetting plan that Morgan Stanley and other large firms have promoted heavily in an attempt to keep older brokers from joining other firms and taking clients with them.

according the the article, the programs allow older brokers to receive a split of fees and commissions paid by former clients for several years if the brokers let their practices lapse after they leave.

Bull BearMiller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of former J.P. Morgan Advisor David Beston.

According to Advisor Hub, a former J.P. Morgan Securities advisor in New York City who sold customer data from account lists he had printed in anticipation of losing his job has agreed to an industry suspension and monetary sanctions of $12,500.

According to the news article, David Beston took home a hard copy of about 500 customer names, account values and numbers in anticipation of joining another firm, “due to a restructuring that jeopardized Beston’s employment with J.P. Morgan,” according to an acceptance, waiver and consent letter that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority accepted on Thursday.

Bull BearMiller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of former Merrill Lynch broker Andrew LeBlanc, II for selling away. among other things and suffered damages and losses to their financial holdings.

According to Advisor Hub, former Merrill Lynch broker in New York has agreed to a six-month suspension and $20,000 fine for allegedly helping three customers make outside investments without firm approval, according to a settlement issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Miller Stern Lawyers – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating clients of Wells Fargo Advisors who are victims of, and suffered damages and losses, due to the failure to supervise.  It has been reported that Wells Fargo Advisors has agreed to pay more than $550,000 in fines and restitution for failing to follow up on warnings it received about two now-barred California brokers who piled their customers into speculative energy stocks, according to FINRA.  Miller Stern Lawyers recently won a $1.5 Million award against Stifel for similar actions of piling their customers into biotechnology and health care stocks.

According to FINRA, the firm failed to investigate trading across customer accounts managed by the brokers. Red flags were raised about overconcentration in the accounts of four customers in a single, low-priced energy stock (ranging from 35.2% to 87.0%), according to a consent letter signed on Thursday by Wells Fargo Advisors CEO Jim Hays.

cropped-High-Res-TA-2018-2019-284x300According to Advisor Hub, “Joseph Woitkoski, who was terminated by Raymond James Associates in 2018 after 20 years as a registered rep, was suspended for 30 days and fined $7,500 for allegedly making discretionary trades for 12 customers without their written authorizations, according to an acceptance, waiver and consent letter that Finra accepted on August 20.” Miller Stern Lawyers, LLC – 410-Law-Firm is currently investigating claims and allegations of brokers making discretionary non-authorized trades in clients accounts at brokerages such as Stifel, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and others.  If you or someone you know are victims of losses in your accounts because of unauthorized discretionary trades, please call for a free evaluation.

Finra has imposed the sanctions even though “over the course of longstanding relationships, the customers gave authorization to Woitkoski to exercise discretion in their accounts,” according to the letter that the Massachusetts-based former broker signed without admitting or denying the findings. This often occurs in elderly clients, with issues such as elder abuse.  Eight of the 12 customers were “seniors,” according to Finra.

“In addition to failing to get permission from customers in writing, Woitkoski never requested or obtained approval from Raymond James. The firm maintained inaccurate books and records because the broker attested in a 2017 compliance questionnaire that he did not exercise discretion in non-fee based accounts, according to the consent letter.” according to Advisor Hub

Bull BearAccording to Advisor Hub customer complaints and litigation against brokerages will be heating up with the market turmoil.  Most of the industry will likely conclude that coronavirus pandemic fears and oil wars between Russia and Saudi Arabia are the cause of the market drop and are totally out of anyone one person or companies control, however there can be broker misconduct involved in the level of losses because of things such as over-concentration and other individual account irregularities.

“The extent of losses may not be apparent to investors for three to six months, they said, and plaintiffs’ lawyers will then have to analyze portfolios and underlying claims of unsuitability to triage the ones most appropriate for litigation.”

The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite are in bear market territory down 20% from their February highs.

Miller Law Group – The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller, LLC successfully litigated against Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated and current financial advisor Kenneth Blumberg  (CRD# 1585520) pertaining to a multitude of allegations including taking discretion in customer accounts without authority, over-concentration in sectors and individual securities, breach of fiduciary duty, unsuitable investments and other securities violations.  Blumberg was registered with Stifel during the time of the events, located in the downtown Baltimore office of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated.

A FINRA arbitration panel has ordered Stifel Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated to pay more than $1.5 million to four customers who claimed that their Financial Advisor, Kenneth Blumberg  (CRD# 1585520) unsuitably concentrated their portfolios in biotechnology and healthcare stocks at levels exceeding 80%.  It was further alleged that while the customers’ portfolios were profitable, Mr. Blumberg failed to protect gains in the account, which was a violation of his duties as a fiduciary, after which time the value in the accounts deteriorated by approximately $1 Million. The case against Stifel asserted that it failed to properly supervise Blumberg. In the Arbitration, the customers recovered 100% of their losses plus approximately $500,000 in consequential damages reflecting what the accounts would have gained from the time they withdrew from Stifel as customers through the date of the Arbitration had the gains been protected and suitably reinvested.

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