Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices has represented investors who’ve suffered losses from dealing with brokers selling unsuitable investment products. Sometimes brokers break so many rules in hurting their clients that they are barred from the industry by FINRA, the industry’s primary regulator.
Case in point: Marshall Owen Isaacson, a former broker with Newbridge Securities of Boca Raton, Florida, was recently expelled from the industry. Isaacson, who had worked with 13 different brokerages, was barred for his involvement in making “unsuitable investment recommendations” while with Newbridge. Of course, one violation doesn’t get you kicked out of the industry. Isaacson had a string of violations going back several years. According to the FINRA BrokerCheck record, which is required to post broker infractions in its public database, Isaacson had 10 separate disclosed complaints, disputes or judgements going back to 2012.
In the last recorded complaint by FINRA, Isaacson “consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to provide documents and information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into whether he made unsuitable investment recommendations,” the FINRA record stated. In plain language, Isaacson didn’t cooperate with FINRA investigators and agreed to the regulator’s final disciplinary action. That means he loses his license to sell securities. Needless to say, there’s more to the story. Brokers can often compile of trail of complaints and customer disputes for decades while still selling investment products.
In Isaacson’s case, six customer disputes were registered with FINRA over his 35 years in the business. Several were settled, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, but included an array of charges such as “unauthorized trading, unsuitability, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.” Over his career, he had been a broker for some well-known firms such as PaineWebber, Lehman Brothers, Prudential Securities and Smith Barney. If you’re just engaging with a new broker-dealer or just want to check the background of your existing firm, it always pays to do a search through FINRA’s BrokerCheck. It’s free and can give detailed information on firms and brokers and their disciplinary history, legal actions, employment history and qualifications. Doing a few minute’s worth of homework can save you from an unscrupulous broker.
This is what you can expect to find when you search by name or firm:
- A report summary that provides a brief overview of the broker and his or her credentials.
- A broker qualifications section that includes a listing of the broker’s prior registrations or licenses, and industry exams he or she has passed.
- A registration and employment history section that consists of two types of information:
- A list of securities firms where the broker was previously registered. Please note that one or more of these securities firms no longer may be registered with FINRA or a national securities exchange.
- The broker’s employment history for the last 10 years—both in and outside the securities industry.
- A disclosure section that includes information about certain criminal, regulatory, civil judicial, or customer complaint events involving the broker.
Have you invested with brokers who have sold you unsuitable vehicles? FINRA and the SEC have strict rules on disclosing risk profiles on all investments sold by brokers and investment advisers. 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. Investors can file FINRA arbitration complaints if these rules are broken.
If you invested with a broker-advisor 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!