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  1. A recent report has detailed rampant elder financial abuse in the United States. Two nonprofit public interest groups, the Frontier Group and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, analyzed more than 72,000 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and discovered that the CFPB has logged more than 72,000 elder abuse complaints since its inception in 2011. The report indicates that Americans aged 62 years or older are frequent targets of widespread financial abuse from mortgage companies, banks, credit bureaus and debt collectors. The report details deceptive and predatory practices targeting older adults across a broad spectrum of financial transactions. The full report can be found at https://uspirgedfund.org/reports/usp/older-consumers-financial-marketplace. If you are an individual aged 62 or older who has suffered losses or damages as a result of elder financial abuse at the hands of a stockbroker, investment advisor or financial consultant, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  2. According to an October 12, 2017 report by InvestmentNews.Com, current efforts to delay the implementation of the Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule until July 2019 are projected to lead to a huge boost in the sale of indexed and variable annuities. The regulation, which raises investment-advice standards in retirement accounts, was expected to put a severe dent in product sales, especially for variable and indexed annuities, a slump that has been playing out since the rule was issued in April 2016. As a result of potential delays in the implementation of the rule, that trend is expected to reverse. If you have purchased or invested in a variable annuity, index annuity, or other type of annuity at the recommendation or urging of a stockbroker, investment advisor or financial consultant, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  3. FINRA’s crackdown on variable annuity misconduct and improper annuity exchanges has continued unabated in 2017. FINRA recently suspended broker Cecil E. Nivens, formerly of NYLife Securities, and ordered the broker to disgorge nearly $186,000 in commissions obtained from customers related to variable annuity exchanges. In another recent disciplinary proceeding, FINRA suspended broker Walter Marino, formerly of Benjamin Securities and Lincoln Investment, for one year for similar annuity abuses. In 2016, FINRA issued over $30 million in fines in variable annuity cases. If you have suffered losses as a result of an investment in a variable annuity, indexed annuity, no-load annuity, hybrid annuity or other type of annuity product, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  4. BankInvestmentConsultant reported on October 11, 2017 that FINRA sanctioned a U.S. Bank broker for running a thriving business secretly selling annuities while employed at the firm. During the period January 2015 and March 2016, Charles Cumber allegedly sold $2.63 million in equity-indexed annuities to 20 individuals, at least 13 of whom were customers of U.S. Bancorp Investments, the retail brokerage arm of U.S. Bank. Cumber was suspended for four months and fined $7,500 for his undisclosed business venture, according to his recent settlement with FINRA. Cumber is the second former U.S. Bank broker to be sanctioned by FINRA for undisclosed outside business ventures. Darrell Pope, an advisor with U.S. Bancorp Investments in Louisville, Kentucky, was suspended in September for four months and fined $7,500 for an alleged fraudulent currency venture involving the sale of Iraqi dinar currency. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses with a stockbroker, investment advisor, or financial consultant at U.S. Bank or U.S. Bancorp Investments, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  5. A FINRA arbitration panel has ordered Morgan Stanley Smith Barney to rescind a variable annuity sale and return the customer s $200,000 investment based on its finding that the fees charged for the investment may not have been sufficiently disclosed. As reported at InvestmentNews.com on October 11, 2017, broker Helen Holmes Timpe of Newport Beach, Calif., and Morgan Stanley sold a SunAmerica Polaris Platinum III variable annuity to a client in November 201, but failed to demonstrate that they provided the client with a prospectus disclosing the fees charged by SunAmerica for the investment. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses with a stockbroker, investment advisor, or financial consultant at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  6. FINRA has fined FSC Securities Corporation $100,000 and ordered the firm to pay $492,485.33 in restitution to customers for allegedly executing approximately 6,500 purchases of inverse and leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in approximately 1,400 retail customer accounts without establishing and maintaining a supervisory system. FINRA found that non-traditional ETFs involved have certain risks that are not associated with traditional ETFs or equities, and that the firm did not have exception reports or any alerts in the firm s electronic trade review system that addressed the risks posed by non-traditional ETFs. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses involving ETFs or purchased an ETF from a stockbroker, investment advisor, or financial consultant at FSC Securities Corporation, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  7. FINRA has barred a broker for his unauthorized use of discretion in his client’s accounts. As reported in InvestmentNews.com, Kenneth Neuner was barred from the industry after he failed to appear at an arbitration hearing relating to his unauthorized use of discretion. Mr. Neuner was formerly employed by VSR Financial Services and subsequently Summit Brokerage until March 2017, when he was terminated for unauthorized exercise of discretion. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses with Kenneth Neuner, VSR Financial Services or Summit Brokerage, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  8. FINRA has fined and suspended two former Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. brokers due to securities industry rule violations involving customer transactions involving margin. Investmentnews.com reports that former broker Jack McBride allegedly reimbursed a customer who complained about margin interest charges after the execution of botched trades in his accounts, and that McBride failed to disclose the customer’s complaints or his payments to the client. Another broker, Stuart Pearl, allegedly made unsuitable recommendations in a client s account when he advised the customer to use margin, despite their conservative to moderate risk tolerance and limited experience trading on margin. Investors use margin when borrowing money from their broker to purchase a stock, using the investment as collateral, but the use of margin exposes investors to the potential for higher losses. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses involving the use of margin with a stockbroker, investment advisor, or financial consultant at Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  9. On September 29, 2017, AdvisorHub.com reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) barred a former Merrill Lynch broker who pleads guilty to operating a multi-million dollar bank fraud scheme. Jeffrey T. Kluge admitted that he defrauded two community banks of $8.7 million by using false account statements to pledge the same collateral for multiple loans over 15 years as a Merrill Lynch broker. Several of Kluge s clients brought claims against Merrill Lynch arising out of unauthorized trades that Kluge made in their accounts. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses involving Jeffrey T. Kluge or Merrill Lynch, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  10. FINRA announced today that it has ordered Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC and Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC to pay more than $3.4 million in restitution to their customers for unsuitable recommendations of volatility-linked exchange-traded products (ETPs) and related supervisory failures. FINRA found that between July 2010 and May 2012, Wells Fargo s registered representative’s recommended volatility-linked ETPs without fully understanding their risks and features. FINRA also found that Wells Fargo failed to implement a reasonable system to supervise solicited sales of these products during the relevant time period. If you are an investor who has suffered investment losses involving ETPs or purchased an ETP from a stockbroker, investment advisor, or financial consultant at Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC or Wells Fargo Advisors, please contact the Investment Loss Recovery Team at 1-800-856-3352 for a no-cost consultation and review.
  11. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), an association of state securities regulators, recently issued its Annual Securities Enforcement Report. In his first address to NASAA, newly-elected and third-time President Joseph Borg identified key priorities for his upcoming term, including emphasized cooperation between state and federal regulators and an increased commitment to strengthen enforcement, technology advancement and cybersecurity.