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Articles Tagged with inadequate supervision

Morgan Stanley Settlement Includes FINRA Fine and Investor Restitution 

According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has consented to pay a $175K fine and more than $774K in restitution for allegedly failing to supervise its former broker Kevin Gunnip. 

The Texas-based financial representative is accused of excessively trading in preferred securities and corporate bonds over five years, causing 10 customers to lose more than $900K. 

Wells Fargo Sold Non-Traditional ETFs to Retail Investors 

If you were an investor who suffered losses in non-traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that you feel were unsuitable for you yet were recommended by a Wells Fargo investment advisor or broker, our ETF fraud attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm) would like to offer you a free case consultation. 

Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network and Wells Fargo Clearing Services recently agreed to pay $35M to settle US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims. These claims accused the two Wells Fargo entities of lax supervision of their registered investment advisors (RIAs). As well as the brokers who recommended certain complex non-traditional ETFs to retirees and other retail advisory and brokerage customers. 

Centaurus Financial Broker Named In Multiple Customer Disputes 

If you suffered substantial investment losses while Centaurus Financial broker, Katherine Nishnic, was your registered representative, please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LLP (SSEK Law Firm). We can help you determine whether you have grounds for a broker fraud case. According to her BrokerCheck record, Nishnic is already the subject of at least eight customer disputes

She has been in the industry for 25 years and a Centaurus broker for four years. Previous to that, Nishnic was registered as a broker for JP Turner and before that with GunnAllen Financial, First Allied Securities, DE Frey & Co., Merrill Lynch and Pierce Fenner and Smith.  

Four Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. (SF) clients were awarded $1.5M in compensatory damages in their Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration case against the brokerage firm. According to AdvisorHub, the claimants are accusing the broker-dealer of not properly supervising Stifel Nicolaus broker Kenneth D. Blumberg, who they contend invested up to 80% of their portfolio in biotech stocks.

The claimants also said that Blumberg mismarked trades and encouraged them to add more positions even as they were losing money. They are alleging the following:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty

FINRA Panel Orders Hilliard Lyons to Pay Damages to Elderly Client

In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration case, Hilliard Lyons is ordered to pay 84-year-old Elizabeth Nickens $445K in damages for losses she sustained from alleged churning and unauthorized trading. Nickens claims that advisor Christopher Bennett made transactions without her authorization in her retirement accounts, and her assets were allocated in such a way that were not suitable for her or investment goals.

Nickens, as an older investor, had a low risk tolerance and was more interested in preserving her funds. Yet, according to her attorney, more than half of her average account equity was in four stocks. She lost over $300K.

Hilliard Lyons is accused of not properly supervising the trades. The firm and Bennett deny the senior financial fraud allegations.
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Ex-Financial Adviser Who Worked for Texas-Based Firm is Barred by SEC After Defrauding Pro Athletes 
Ash Narayan, an ex-California financial adviser, has been barred by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Narayan, who is accused of secretly receiving almost $2M from companies that he invested in on behalf of his professional athlete clients, agreed to no longer associate with advisory or brokerage firms to resolve the regulator’s allegations.

Narayan worked for Dallas firm RGT Wealth Advisors, but he was based in California as the managing director of its Irvine office. He also is accused of misrepresenting himself as a CPA and placing clients in unsuitable private investments. In October, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards issued a temporary suspension against him while an investigation was conducted into the allegations. RGT Wealth Advisers fired Narayan early this year.

According to the SEC, Narayan’s alleged fraud occurred between 2010 and 2016, during which time he directed $33M to a company that he was involved in and was in poor financial health. By settling, Narayan is not denying or admitting to the SEC charges.

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is ordering VALIC Financial Advisors Inc. to pay a $1.75M fine for purported conflicts of interest that impacted the way that the firm compensated brokers for selling annuities.

According to the self-regulatory organization, from 10/2011 through 10/2014, the Houston-based financial firm established a conflict of interest when it said registered representatives would receive financial incentives for recommending that clients transfer their money from VALIC variable annuities into a Valic fixed index annuity or onto its fee-based platform.

FINRA said that the firm created even more conflict when it told representatives they would not get compensation from moving customer money to a non-Valic product from a Valic variable annuity.

FINRA said that because of these conflicts, a significant amount of assets were moved to the firm’s advisory platform and sales of  VALIC ’s proprietary fixed index annuity increased by over 610% after it was included in the firm’s compensation policy.

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New Hampshire Says Merrill Lynch Must Pay $400,000 For Not Complying with Telemarketing Rules

Bank of America (BAC) Merrill Lynch has consented to pay $400,000 to resolve claims made by the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation accusing the firm of improperly soliciting business when it called people who were on do-not-call lists and were not clients. As part of the deal, Merrill Lynch will improve its telemarketing procedures and policies. A spokesperson for the brokerage firm says it has already enhanced internal controls to avoid making inappropriate calls moving forward.

According to the regulator, not only did the broker-dealer fail to fully comprehend how to comply with the state’s rules for telemarketing but also the firm did not reasonably supervise its agents’ telemarketing activities in New Hampshire.

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