Chicago-based Stoltmann Law Offices is representing investors who’ve suffered as a result of financial advisors recommending high risk leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Broker-dealer Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments was charged by the Massachusetts Securities Division with selling “unsuitable investments to investors while operating as independent investment advisers of Harvest Group Wealth Management,” according to thediwire.com. “Despite warnings from FINRA that leveraged exchange-traded funds are typically unsuitable for average investors who plan to hold them for more than a day, the Harvest Group invested more than 340 client accounts in leveraged exchange-traded funds for days, weeks, months, and even a year,” the state regulator stated. FINRA is the federal regulator of the U.S. securities industry.
According to the Massachusetts complaint, “more than $2.3 million in losses were incurred as a result of unsuitable investments in leveraged ETFs. Purshe Kaplan had a duty to review the transactions as part of their supervisory responsibilities, even though they were conducted outside of the firm.”
Investments like ETFs can be highly leveraged, which means they carry high downside risk and can easily lose money under certain market conditions. Brokers are under a legal obligation to carefully vet all trades and investments with you to ensure that the investments they are selling meet your financial goals and risk tolerance. Leveraged ETFs specifically, are designed to be trading vehicles, not held long-term, because they will not achieve their stated objectives long-term. They are designed to achieve their objectives daily, and are totally unsuitable for buy-and-hold investors. Unfortunately, many financial advisors do not understand this.
According to the complaint, “for years, Purshe Kaplan reportedly failed to review any of the private securities transactions of its dually-registered agents at the Harvest Group. After the broker-dealer amended its policies in 2019 to conduct risk-based reviews of dually-registered advisers’ outside transactions, it still failed to conduct any reviews that year, and conducted only one transaction review in 2020, the regulator said.”
Note: Brokers are not allowed to trade without your explicit written permission unless you give them “discretionary” authority over your account, which often opens the door to overtrading and other abuses.
Have you invested with brokers who have sold you money-losing or overpriced investments or traded without your permission? 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 or vet shady companies offering investments, you may have a case in arbitration.
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. You can often avoid rogue broker-advisors by checking their backgrounds through BrokerCheck,
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!