Oppenheimer Charged with Putting 91-Year-Olds in Risky Leveraged ETFs

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced Wednesday that Oppenheimer & Co. will pay nearly $3 million in fines and restitution to settle supervision and suitability findings. FINRA alleged that Oppenheimer put seniors into leveraged and inverse-leveraged exchange-traded funds. An 89-year conservative customer with annual income of $50,000 held 96 solicited non-traditional ETF positions for an average of 32 days (and for up to 470 days) resulting in a net loss of $51,847. A 91-year conservative customer with an annual income of $30,000 held 56 solicited non-traditional ETF positions for an average of 48 days (and for up to 706 days) resulting in a net loss of $11,161. A 67-year conservative customer with an annual income of $40,000 held two solicited non-traditional ETF positions in her account for 729 days, resulting in a net loss of $2,746.

Brokers at firms such as Oppenheimer have a duty to only recommend and sell investments to investors that are suitable for them. They must take into account the investors’ age, net worth, investment objectives and investment sophistication. If the broker does not, the firm may be liable for investment losses. We sue firms such as Oppenheimer in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis for investors.

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