Suspended Broker Accused of Making Unsuitable Recommendations to Retiree
If you sustained investment losses while working with ex-Berthel Fisher broker Mason Gann, contact our stockbroker fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) today. Gann, who is not a registered broker at this time, is serving a three-month suspension imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The self-regulatory organization (SRO) found that he made unsuitable recommendations in the account of an elderly retiree.
According to the self-regulatory organization (SRO), between 8/2015 and 1/2018, Gann recommended that this investor employ a high-risk options trading strategy. This retiree, who was in his 70’s at the time, not only had “modest retirement savings” and “limited income,” but he was also an inexperienced investor. FINRA contends that Gann did not have reasonable grounds for making such recommendations to this particular customer.
The older investor, who’d worked with Gann when he was a broker at another firm, set up an IRA through him at Berthel Fisher. The customer made it clear that since retiring in 2009 he needed to keep taking out $1500/month to cover living expenses, as well as occasionally withdraw other amounts to pay for other costs.
Unfortunately, between 2013 and 2015, the customer’s IRA did not make enough income to counterbalance these monthly withdrawals. Eventually, his account balance went down significantly-from over $200K to under $20K. The SRO determined that not only were the monthly withdrawals unsustainable in the long run, but also Gann’s recommendation that the customer trade options likely made everything worse.
This is Mason Gann’s Second FINRA Suspension
This is not the first time that FINRA has suspended Gann. In 2018, the then-Berthel Fisher broker was suspended for 20 days after finding that he used discretion in six customers’ accounts without authorization. His BrokerCheck record shows seven disclosures, including customers disputes. One of the customer claims was withdrawn while two were settled.
The disputes alleged:
- Unsuitable investments
- Failure by Berthel Fisher to properly supervise Gann
- Unauthorized trading
Berthel Fisher terminated Gann’s employment after he possibly violated the conditions of his heightened supervision. With 18 years in the industry, Gann has been a registered broker with Milkie/Ferguson Investments and Wachovia Securities.
For older investors who rely on their retirement funds to support themselves, losing their savings that they’ve worked a lifetime to accrue can lead to devastating and life-altering consequences. Brokers are supposed to know what types of investments to recommend to help older investors make choices that won’t place their funds into securities that are too risky for their portfolio.
Also, it is the responsibility of broker-dealers to adequately supervise their registered representatives and have the proper systems and procedures in place to prevent fraud or the negligent mishandling of funds.
Senior Investor Fraud Attorneys
Throughout the US, SSEK Law Firm works with retirees and other older investors and their families to help them recover their losses caused by brokerage firm negligence and broker fraud. Contact our skilled retirement losses lawyers today if you suspect that former Berthel Fisher broker Mason Gann or any other financial representative should be held liable for the way they handled your investments or the investments of a loved one.