Investment Loss Recovery Group is now investigating complaints against former financial advisor and securities broker Christopher C. Hellman, who worked for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., in Boca Raton, Florida, from September 2016 through September 2018.
Recently, our law firm obtained a $440,000 settlement on behalf of one of Mr. Hellman’s former customers who alleged that he had misappropriated funds. In December 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) permanently barred Mr. Hellman from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity.
The attorneys of Investment Loss Recovery Group have an extensive financial services industry background and more than 40 years of combined legal experience. We have recovered damages for wronged investors throughout the country through securities arbitration, litigation, negotiation and settlement. If you suffered investment losses after working with Mr. Hellman and his former brokerage firm, contact us today. We will thoroughly review your case in a free consultation.
Who Is Christopher Hellman?
You can find information about Christopher C. Hellman (CRD# 6584084) through two publicly available databases, the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) and the FINRA Central Registration Depository (CRD). Based on Mr. Hellman’s IARD Public Disclosure Report and his FINRA BrokerCheck report:
Mr. Hellman entered the securities industry in January 2016. From January 2016 through August 2016, he was registered with FMS Bonds, Inc., in North Miami Beach, Florida. He then went to work for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., in its Boca Raton branch from September 2016 through September 2018, when the firm discharged him for “conduct including failure to adhere to Firm standards regarding selling away and failure to fully disclose participation in outside business activities.”
“Selling away” occurs when a broker solicits clients to buy securities that the broker’s firm does not offer or include in its list of approved products. Generally, a brokerage firm limits its brokers to suggesting or selling only those products which it has approved after performing due diligence. Additionally, brokers must disclose their outside business activities so the firm can determine whether those activities present conflicts of interest.
FINRA Investigation of Christopher C. Hellman
In November 2018, Mr. Hellman signed a FINRA Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (FINRA No. 2018060168801) in which he consented to the following findings:
FINRA launched an investigation of Mr. Hellman after Merrill Lynch filed a Form U5 terminating his registration on October 16, 2018. Ten days later, FINRA sent a request to Mr. Hellman for documents and other information.
Even though he acknowledged FINRA’s request, Mr. Hellman informed FINRA on November 19, 2018 (through his counsel) that would not produce the documents or other requested information. According to FINRA, his refusal violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. In December 2018, FINRA barred him from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity due to his failure to cooperate.
What Are the Complaints Against Christopher C. Hellman?
Mr. Hellman’s FINRA BrokerCheck report shows that customers have filed two complaints against him. Both complaints arose from his alleged conduct while employed with Merrill Lynch. One complaint resulted in a settlement. The other one is pending.
- Investment Loss Recovery Group represented a customer who filed a complaint in September 2018, alleging that Mr. Hellman misappropriated funds on October 23, 2017. The customer alleged $600,000 in damages. The case involved a debt-municipal product. As we stated above, the case settled for $440,000.
- In November 2018, a customer filed a complaint which accused Mr. Hellman of misappropriation of funds and selling away on May 25-26, 2017. The complaint is pending (FINRA No. 18-04047). It involves “private investments” and $155,000 in alleged damages.
How Can You Recover Investment Losses Involving Mr. Hellman?
Brokers have a duty to comply with FINRA rules, which are designed to protect customers. Additionally, FINRA imposes a duty on brokerage firms to supervise the conduct of their employees and to ensure their compliance with FINRA rules. If a broker violates FINRA rules or engages in other illegal activity, and the customer suffers financial losses as a result of the broker misconduct, both the individual broker and the firm can be held liable.
At Investment Loss Recovery Group, our attorneys are former licensed securities brokers and brokerage firm defense lawyers who now focus exclusively on protecting the rights of investors. We seek to recoup our clients’ investment losses through private and confidential arbitration proceedings. We also help clients to recover damages through mediation and settlement. We work with investors throughout the country.
If you suffered financial losses after working with Christopher C. Hellman and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., in Boca Raton, Florida, we will work with you to develop a strategy that is aimed at maximizing the recovery of your investment losses. Call or reach us online today to learn more and discuss your case in a free and confidential consultation.