Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices is representing investors who’ve suffered losses from financial advisors who’ve swindled investors through unauthorized transactions. Can financial advisers trade your portfolio or buy investments without your permission? Only if you give them “discretionary” authority and definitely not if they’ve failed to obtain your written okay.
Without a doubt, brokers can’t do anything with your assets if they forge your signatures to make a transaction. Joffre Salazar, a former broker with LPL Financial, was terminated by the brokerage firm after he “forged two customers’ signatures and initials on documents connected to the purchase of fixed annuities, which Salazar then also submitted without the customers’ authorization,” according to FinancialAdvisorIQ.com.
Salazar, who first registered with Finra, the federal securities regulator, in 1991, registered with LPL in 2016, according to Finra. In April 2019, LPL filed a termination notice for Salazar, stating that he resigned voluntarily, but two months later amended the form to disclose that it started a review of Salazar’s “involvement in processing [an] annuity application without customer authorization,” Finra stated.
In another case, Salazar allegedly “recommended to another customer a five-year fixed annuity with a 3.15% interest rate, for which the customer signed documents, according to Finra. When it turned out that the rate on the annuity was actually 2.85%, Salazar allegedly forged the client’s signature and submitted the documents without authorization,” Finra says. Both customers complained to LPL about the allegedly unauthorized purchases, according to the self-regulator. Salazar consented to a one-year suspension starting September 7 and to pay a $5,000 fine without admitting or denying the findings, Finra says.
After LPL fired him, Salazar moved onto another firm, though. After his departure from LPL in April 2019, Salazar registered with American Portfolios Financial Services, but the firm discharged him in September the same year over “inconsistencies in client documents associated with the submission of an application brought to our attention by the issuer,” according to his BrokerCheck record.
Have you invested with brokers who done transactions without your permission or have sold you money-losing or suspicious investments from shady managers? FINRA and the SEC have strict rules on disclosing risk profiles on all investments sold by brokers and investment advisers. If they fail to fully inform you of downside risk, you may have a case in arbitration.
One way of avoiding brokers is to check their professional history on Finra’s BrokerCheck service. You can also check to see if they’ve been barred by Finra or have been sanctioned by the SEC. The SEC service, for example, “will include individuals against whom a court has entered a judgment, or the Commission has issued an order. This includes individuals who settled, defaulted, or contested their actions; provided a judgment or order was issued against them. Your results will not include individuals whose cases are currently pending at the trial court or those against whom no judgment or order has been issued.”
Firms are also legally required by Finra to monitor and supervise what their brokers are selling – their investments must be vetted and authorized by the firms – and have an obligation to investors to fully reveal true risk and return information about the vehicles sold. Broker-dealers and advisors are also required to fully vet all of the investments they are selling to determine if they are suitable for your age and risk tolerance. Investors can file FINRA arbitration complaints if these rules are broken.
If you invested with a financial and lost money as a result, you may have a claim to pursue through FINRA Arbitration. Please contact Stoltmann Law Offices, P.C. at 312-332-4200 for a free, no obligation consultation with a securities attorney. Stoltmann Law Offices is a contingency fee law firm which means we do not get paid until you do!