Brian Lawrence Stephan submitted an Offer of Settlement to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was fined and suspended for allegedly recommending unsuitable investments and provided false information on his firm’s mutual fund exchange forms in violation of FINRA Rules 4511, 2111 and 2010, and NASD Ruled 2310.
From November 2003 through August 27, 2014, Brian Lawrence Stephan was registered with LPL Financial LLC as a General Securities Representative. According to the FINRA findings, from May 2012 through May 2014, Stephan recommended and caused the execution of unsuitable investments in 20 different mutual fund families for an elderly customer. The findings stated the recommendations were unsuitable because the customer could have received a discount in sales charges by approximately $30,000 if she were to invest in larger amounts across fewer fund families. Based on the FINRA findings, Stephan lacked any reasonable basis, caused the customer to incur excessive sales and received $60,000 in commissions for the transactions. In addition to the findings, Stephan allegedly mismarked the transactions as unsolicited and provided false information on his firm’s mutual fund exchange forms.
FINRA Rule 2111 (for conduct occurring on and after July 9, 2012) provides: A member or an associated person must have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer, based on the information obtained through the reasonable diligence of the member or associated person to ascertain the customer’s investment profile. A customer’s investment profile includes, but is not limited to, the customer’s age, other investments, financial situation and needs, tax status, investment objectives, investment experience, investment time horizon, liquidity needs, risk tolerance, and any other information the customer may disclose to the member or associated person in connection with such recommendation.
NASD Rule 2310 (for conduct occurring prior to July 9, 2012), provided: In recommending to a customer the purchase, sale or exchange of any security, a member shall have reasonable grounds for believing that the recommendation is suitable for such customer upon the basis of the facts, if any, disclosed by such customer as to his other security holdings and as to his financial situation and needs.
Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Brian Lawrence Stephan was assessed a deferred fine of $10,000, ordered to pay $29,430 in restitution to customers and suspended from association with any FINRA member in all capacities for eight months. The suspension was in effect from May 6, 2019, through January 5, 2020.
Stockbrokers have been known to engage in many practices that may violate industry and firm rules, practices, and procedures. In order to protect investors from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a supervisory system. The implementation of these industry rules requires supervisors to monitor their employees to ensure compliance with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, and the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures. If broker-dealers and/or their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages which flow from the broker’s misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses stemming from unsuitable recommendations, and/or other misconduct by their broker can file claims to recover damages against broker-dealers, like LPL Financial, which should consistently oversee its brokers’ activities in order to prevent the above-described misconduct.
Have you suffered losses in your LPL Financial account due to unsuitable recommendations by your broker? Was Brian Lawrence Stephan your stockbroker? If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation. Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against LPL Financial stockbrokers who may have engaged in broker misconduct and caused investors’ losses.
The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed! This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. For over 40 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues. The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally! Please visit our website, www.secatty.com, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at email@example.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.