Articles Tagged with Ameriprise Financial Services

Stoltmann Law Offices is a Chicago-based investor rights law firm offering representation to defrauded investors on a contingency fee basis.  On February 24, 2022, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a civil complaint against Arthur Stewart Hoffman alleging he breached his fiduciary duty to several clients he recommended invest in an entity called Zima Global Ventures.  The SEC alleges that Zima Global was to pool investor money to then invest in a crypto-currency trading operation. Investors who put their hard-earned money into Zima as a result of the recommendation by Hoffman may have viable claims for recovery against Ameriprise Financial, the brokerage and investment advisory firm Hoffman was registered with at the time he made these solicitations.

According to his FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Hoffman was registered with Ameriprise from November 2016 until his termination for cause on May 13, 2020.  Two days after he was terminated, FINRA barred Mr. Hoffman from the securities industry for failing to cooperate and provide documents and information in response to a Rule 8210 request for information. Mr. Hoffman also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in Arizona in May 2020. Importantly, on February 16, 2016, a customer filed a complaint against Hoffman which alleged a million dollars in damages in connection with securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent concealment. The regulator reports that this case was settled for $329,500, making it a very meaningful customer claim and supervisory issue for Hoffman moving forward.  Ameriprise should have kept Hoffman on a very short leash, but the facts seem to be, they allowed him to operate on a proverbial island where he was able to run an outside business and funnel Ameriprise client money to this Zima crypto-scam.

Brokerage firms like Ameriprise are legally responsible for supervising their financial advisors. Included in this mandate is to adequately supervise outside businesses, even if they are not disclosed, if red flags exist that the advisor is operating an outside entity. Here, Ameriprise clients invested money in Zima based on Hoffman’s solicitations.  Red flags do not get much more serious than that. Simply phone calls and monitoring of client accounts would have revealed that Hoffman was selling securities in an outside entity.  Ameriprise’s supervisory procedures were insufficient and not up to industry standards, which could make Ameriprise liable for negligence.

According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), James Wright allegedly used unapproved personal emails and text messages to communicate with an unregistered administrative assistant regarding firm customers. Allegedly, from August 21st, 2015, through May 26th, 2016, Wright communicated with his unregistered administrative assistant using two personal email addressed and the text message function of his personal smartphone, none of which were networked to the firm’s retention system for electronic communications. The emails included information regarding the customers’ assets, securities holdings, and financial goals. This is against securities laws and internal firm rules. For this, he was suspended from the industry for 10 business days and fined $5,000.

James Wright was previously registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 2000 until July 2006, Ameriprise Financial Services in Garden City, New York from February 1987 until January 2014, and Raymond James in New York, New York from February 2014 until February 2015. He is currently registered with American Portfolios Financial Services in New York, and has been since March 2015. He has three customer disputes against him, alleging delays in transferring mutual funds to a moneymarket fund, a customer not being advised of potential tax consequences from a redemption, and lost money in investments due to the advice of the advisor. These are all against securities laws. This is according to Wright’s BrokerCheck report with FINRA online.

Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who may have invested money with Cheryle Anne Brady, a former broker with Ameriprise Financial in Hingham, Massachusetts. Ms. Brady was assessed a deferred fine of $7,500 and suspended by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly falsely stating to her member firm that she had contacted clients prior to trades being placed. She allegedly placed trades in her clients’ accounts without first obtaining the clients’ approvals. Allegedly, a member of her sales supervision team sent her an email containing a list of the trades and inquired if Brady had spoken with each client on that day. Brady responded that she had spoken to each of the clients, and, after each call, had instructed her sales assistant to place the trades. Later, she admitted she did not speak to the clients before the trades were placed. This is against securities laws and internal firm rules.

According to her online BrokerCheck report with FINRA, Ms. Brady was previously registered with Pioneer Funds Distributor in Boston, Massachusetts from January 1993 until May 1993, Linsco/Private Ledger in Boston from June 1993 until March 1994, A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, Missouri from January 1995 until May 1997, UBS Painewebber in Weehawken, New Jersey from June 1997 until March 2002, RBC Capital Markets in Norwell, Massachusetts from March 2002 until February 2012 and Ameriprise Financial Services in Hingham, Massachusetts from January 2012 until October 2016. She has three customer disputes against her. She is not currently registered as a broker and has been suspended from the industry.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Mark Wesley, a former registered broker with Ameriprise Financial Services. Ameriprise allowed Wesley to resign alleging that he was under suspicion for compliance policy violations related to unauthorized trading, use of discretion in a non-discretionary account, supervision of staff and responding to supervision. He also allegedly participated in direct participation products (DPPs), oil and gas private placements, variable annuities, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other alternative investments. He was also subject to five tax liens totaling millions of dollars.

According to his online Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck report, Wesley was registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota from September 1994 until July 2006, and Ameriprise Financial Services in Independence, Ohio from September 1994 until June 2016. He has six customer disputes against him and is not licensed within the industry. Please call our securities law offices in Chicago if you lost money with Mark Wesley. We may be able to help you recover those losses in the FINAR arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis.

According to a recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Jack Alan Quick was accused of issuing a check to settle the complaint of two firm customers without sufficient funds to cover the check. Allegedly, in June 2012, Quick recommended that his long-time customers, a married couple, each purchased a RiverSource Indexed Universal Life Insurance Policy (IUL). The surrender period for both of them was 10 years. In July 2013, the customers told Quick that they were displeased with the IUL and ask that he surrender it. Quick then told them about the surrender charge. Quick offered to reimburse them for the surrender charge. The cost was $5,448.00. The clients accepted a check from Quick, who did not notify his member firm, Ameriprise, of his actions. This is against securities rules and regulations. He was fined $5,000 and suspended for ten business days.

According to Quick’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, he was registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 1993 until July 2006 and Ameriprise Financial Services in New Hope, Minnesota from May 1993 until July 2015. He has three customer disputes against him and is not licensed within the industry. Call us today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. 312-332-4200.

According to an article in yesterday’s InvestmentNews, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined an Ameriprise representative $50,000 and suspended him from the industry for one year. The broker, David B. Tysk, was accused of altering software notes to document his recommendations for a 78-year-old client, to invest $2 million in Ameriprise variable annuities. Tysk allegedly backdated 54 new entries and changed 13 previous entries in his client-relationship management system, to support recommendations that were claimed to be unfit for his client.

Mr. Tysk was said to have made the $2 million recommendations in December 2006. The client invested $1 million and purchased another $1 million seven months later. Months later, the client raised suitability concerns, adding he did not need to insure any assets to his heirs. It was detected that Mr. Tysk went back to change the history to correct a failing on his behalf.

According to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report, Tysk was registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota from August 1999 until July 2006 and Ameriprise Financial Services in Eden Prairie, Minnesota since December 1987. He has four customer disputes against him. Please call us today if you would like to bring a claim against his firm, Ameriprise. We are securities attorneys who represent investors in the FINRA arbitration forum in order to help them recover their investment losses.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating VSR Financial Services for alleged fraud claims against the firm. A 70 year-old investor retiree filed claims with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against VSR claiming that the firm, and former broker, John Towers, put his life savings into an illiquid “alternative” investment program and other non-conventional investments against his instructions. The customer is alleging he suffered losses in excess of $845,807 due to alleged fraud, violations of the Texas Security Act, breach of contract, breach of duty, negligence and failure to supervise and secondary liability. He is seeking actual damages, well-managed account damages, benefit-of-the-bargain damages, rescission, disgorgement of fees and commissions, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and interest. VSR allegedly put clients into unsuitable investments such as non-traded REITs, public REITs, equipment leasing programs, oil and gas drilling programs, promissory notes and commodity funds. Many of these investments are illiquid and not suitable for all investors.

As of April 2016, at least 30 customers filed complaints for alleged misconduct, including unsuitability, self-dealing and misrepresentations, as well as two regulatory actions against Mr. Towers. In 2015, VSR censured and fined VSR $550,000 for failure to supervise unsuitable sales of non-conventional investments. Mr. Towers was registered with VSR Financial Services in Plano, Texas from July 2002 until April 2014. He is currently registered with Ameriprise Financial Services in Hurst, Texas and has been since April 2014. Please call our law offices today to speak to an attorney for free about your options of suing VSR in the FINRA arbitration process if you feel you may have a claim against the firm. 312-332-4200.

Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Bill Utanski, a broker with Ameriprise Financial Services in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to publicly available records from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Utanski was accused of recommending unsuitable investments in products including closed-end funds and Dendreon stock, and engaged in churning. Churning is excessively trading in a customer’s account to generate large commissions for the broker himself. It is against securities rules and regulations. Utanski was registered with Salomon Smith Barney in New York, New York from January 1995 until June 1999, UBS in Weehawken, New Jersey from June 1999 until June 2001, Prudential Securities in New York from June 2001 until November 2002 and Ameriprise in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from October 2002 until October 2009. He is currently registered with Ameriprise in Ft. Lauderdale and has been since October 2009. He has three customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending.

Did you suffer investment losses with Gerard A. Fagnant, formerly with LPL Financial? If so, our securities attorneys may be able to help you recover your investment losses in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis. Please call our Chicago-based firm today at 312-332-4200 to speak to one of our attorneys about your options. We sue firms such as LPL for not properly supervising their brokers. According to his Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with FINRA, Gerard improperly accepted five loans totaling $325,000 from two firm customers when he was registered with LPL Financial from June 2013 until September 2014. His customers liquidated approximately $281,203 worth of securities on three occasions in June 2013, May 2014 and August 2014, which resulted in the near depletion of the customers’ brokerage account. For this, he was barred from the securities industry by FINRA.

Fagnant was registered with IDS Life Insurance Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota from October 1988 until July 2006, Ameriprise Financial Services in Leominster, Massachusetts from October 1988 until November 2011 and LPL In Leominster from November 2011 until April 2015. He has two customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He is not licensed within the industry and has been permanently barred, according to his online FINRA BrokerCheck report.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently sanctioned Ameriprise for failures to deliver account records to clients at account openings, Banca IMI Securities Corp for CEO supervisory failures and Coburn & Meredith Inc. for the sale of UITs. FINRA censured Ameriprise Financial Services in Minneapolis and fined it $150,000 after alleging that it failed to create and send to approximately 219,000 customers an account record within 30 days of opening the account. The firm created the account records but only sent them to customers if the systems ran in a particular sequence, otherwise no records were sent. FINRA found that Ameriprise’s supervisory system and written supervisory procedures were what allowed the failing of the system.

Banca IMI Securities Corp was censured and fined $250,000 by FINRA when the regulatory authority found that the firm failed to have an adequate supervisory system in place. The firm’s CEO also spent almost $900,000 of the firm’s funds on certain works of art created and sold by his relatives and fund charitable donations to entities with which he had a personal connection or interest.

FINRA also fined Coburn & Meredith Inc. $75,000 and censured the firm. Coburn was also ordered to pay $203,097.47, plus interest in restitution to customers with respect to the sale of unit investment trusts (UITs). The firm allegedly failed to identify and apply sales charge discounts to certain customers’ eligible purchases of UITs. This resulted in the customers paying excess charges of $203,097.47. FINRA also found that the firm failed to have supervisory systems in place.

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