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Articles Posted in FINRA Arbitration

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the U.S. broker-dealer industry’s most prominent self-regulatory organization, authorized by Congress to protect investors by ensuring that the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly. However, despite overseeing more than 600,000 brokers across the country, FINRA’s jurisdiction does not include Vlad Tenev, the CEO of Robinhood, who is not registered or licensed with the organization.  Robinhood has been hailed as one of the fastest-growing online brokerage firms in the world, but has been the subject of extreme scrutiny over the past several weeks due to its role in recent market activity related to GameStop, AMC Theatres, and others.  Many Brokerage CEOs Are Not FINRA-Registered  Unfortunately, Tenev’s lack of FINRA registration is not an exception, but the industry norm. Robinhood’s response to this revelation has been that Tenev is the CEO of the holding company for Robinhood’s brokerage service, not the broker-dealer itself, meaning Tenev is not required to be registered. Nonetheless, FINRA’s website states that “we require individuals and firms who wish to conduct business with the investing public to achieve and maintain certification as members of FINRA.” Tenev’s implication in recent events has led many to question whether Tenev, and individuals in similar positions at other firms, should be deemed individuals conducting business with the investing public.FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the U.S. broker-dealer industry’s most prominent self-regulatory organization, authorized by Congress to protect investors by ensuring that the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly. However, despite overseeing more than 600,000 brokers across the country, FINRA’s jurisdiction does not include Vlad Tenev, the CEO of Robinhood, who is not registered or licensed with the organization. Continue reading ›

On February 4, 2021, a federal indictment was unsealed against three GPB Capital insiders: David Gentile, Jeffry Schneider, and Jeffrey Lash. Gentile was the founder, owner, and CEO of GPB Capital, Schneider was the CEO of Ascendant Capital, the placement agent for GPB, and Lash was a managing partner of GPB Capital primarily responsible for overseeing GPB’s investments in car dealerships.  GPB Capital is a New York-based alternative asset manager that raised over $1.8 billion dollars from investors across the United States.  GPB offered a series of limited partnership deals, including: GPB Holdings, LP; GPB Holdings II, LP; GPB Automotive Portfolio, LP; GPB Waste Management, LP, and GPB Cold Storage, LP.  GPB was sold by a vast network of brokerage firms who promised protection of principal investment, a steady dividend payment, and major upside if GPB went public.  GPB’s funds have not paid any distributions since 2018, have substantially declined in principal value, and are illiquid, meaning investors are stuck in these funds with no way to sell and/or recoup their losses.On February 4, 2021, a federal indictment was unsealed against three GPB Capital insiders: David Gentile, Jeffry Schneider, and Jeffrey Lash. Gentile was the founder, owner, and CEO of GPB Capital, Schneider was the CEO of Ascendant Capital, the placement agent for GPB, and Lash was a managing partner of GPB Capital primarily responsible for overseeing GPB’s investments in car dealerships. Continue reading ›

A FINRA arbitration panel has awarded customers of Arete Wealth Management $515,000 for investment losses in risky GPB Capital Holdings private placements. The award is notable because Arete was ordered to pay $259,000 in client legal fees, which is not typical in FINRA arbitration awards.  Arete Wealth Management, a broker-dealer based in Chicago with 35 offices, is known to sell high-risk alternative investments. Silver Law Group filed a FINRA arbitration claim against Arete on behalf of an elderly client who we alleged was sold unsuitable leveraged ETNs, ETFs, and non-traded REITS. Among the investments that caused our client significant losses were: American Finance Trust, Hospitality Investors Trust, and Benefit Partners Realty Trust.  GPB Capital Holdings  FINRA arbitration claims have been piling up against GPB Capital Holdings, a New York-based alternative asset management firm that raised $1.8 billion since its founding in 2013 by Scientologist David Gentile.A FINRA arbitration panel has awarded customers of Arete Wealth Management $515,000 for investment losses in risky GPB Capital Holdings private placements. The award is notable because Arete was ordered to pay $259,000 in client legal fees, which is not typical in FINRA arbitration awards. Continue reading ›

According to FINRA Disciplinary actions for December 2020, the following individuals were suspended from FINRA for failing to comply with a FINRA arbitration award or settlement agreement pursuant to FINRA rules:

NAME FORMER EMPLOYERS
  Katie Blando   J.P. Morgan Securities LLC
  Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
  Thomas Marino   R.M. Stark & Co., Inc.
  J.W. Cole Financial, Inc.
  Narinder Singh   Farmers Financial Solutions, LLC
  ProEquities, Inc.

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On behalf of investors, Silver Law Group is investigating junk bonds offered by now-bankrupt Hornbeck Offshore Services. Hornbeck Offshore bonds were sold to clients when they held a D rating by Standard and Poor’s, the lowest rating possible.  About Hornbeck Offshore Services  Hornbeck Offshore Services calls itself a “leading provider of marine transportation services to exploration and production, oilfield service, offshore construction and military customers.”  After struggling with low oil prices and significant debt, including debt sold to investors as bonds, Hornbeck filed for bankruptcy. In September, 2020 Hornbeck announced that it had emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and completed a reorganization as a private company with a new board of directors. Investors in Hornbeck bonds lost their money.  On behalf of investors, Silver Law Group is investigating junk bonds offered by now-bankrupt Hornbeck Offshore Services. Hornbeck Offshore bonds were sold to clients when they held a D rating by Standard and Poor’s, the lowest rating possible.

About Hornbeck Offshore Services

Hornbeck Offshore Services calls itself a “leading provider of marine transportation services to exploration and production, oilfield service, offshore construction and military customers.” Continue reading ›

Michael Martino (Michael Christopher Martino CRD#: 2579146) is a currently registered broker with Four Points Capital Partners LLC (CRD#: 43149) of New York, NY. His previous employers include Wedbush Securities Inc. (CRD#:877) of Tarrytown, NY, Brookstreet Securities Corporation (CRD#:14667) of White Plains, NY, and Emerson Bennett & Associates (CRD#:36171, expelled by FINRA in 2002) of Fort Lauderdale, FL. He has been in the industry since 1995.  Michael Martino is the subject of eight disclosures, three of which are current customer disputes.  The most recent dispute was filed on 6/26/2020, with allegations that indicate “between 2014-2017, reps provided unsuitable recommendations with unsuitable concentrations, with unreasonable commissions and failure to know their customer.”  The client requests damages of $543,163.00. Martino denies the allegations, calling them “baseless.”Michael Martino (Michael Christopher Martino CRD#: 2579146) is a currently registered broker with Four Points Capital Partners LLC (CRD#: 43149) of New York, NY. His previous employers include Wedbush Securities Inc. (CRD#:877) of Tarrytown, NY, Brookstreet Securities Corporation (CRD#:14667) of White Plains, NY, and Emerson Bennett & Associates (CRD#:36171, expelled by FINRA in 2002) of Fort Lauderdale, FL. He has been in the industry since 1995. Continue reading ›

Silver Law GroupSilver Law Group is speaking with investors who have suffered losses investing in Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) after their SunTrust brokers recommended the investment.  Since purchasing Northstar Financial Services investments, investors have experienced suspended monthly income payments, illiquidity and inability to surrender policies, and have lost virtually the entirety of their investments due to Northstar Financial Services’ recent collapse. Investors have alleged that their SunTrust financial advisors pitched Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) as a safe, stable investment product comparable to a bank CD.  Allegations include that SunTrust financial advisors promised guaranteed monthly returns as well as protection of principal.  Unfortunately, this did not pan out to be true, as Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) is on the verge of insolvency, and its owner, Greg Lindberg, has been convicted of fraud and bribery. What Is Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd.? Northstar Financial Services offers investment and annuity products.  The company is based in Bermuda and purports to offer various benefits, including tax shelters, not available for US-based investments.  Northstar Financial Services offers a wide range of fixed-rate and variable-rate investment, insurance, and/or annuity products, including, but not limited to: Global Interest Accumulator Global Advantage Plus Series Global Advantage Select Global VIP Elite Global Index Product is speaking with investors who have suffered losses investing in Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) after their SunTrust brokers recommended the investment. Since purchasing Northstar investments, investors have experienced suspended monthly income payments, illiquidity and inability to surrender policies, and have lost virtually the entirety of their investments due to Northstar Financial Services’ recent collapse. Continue reading ›

Silver Law Group is investigating possible claims related to investments in a variety of investment and insurance products offered by Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd. Some of the investments offered by Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) include, but are not limited to: Global Interest Accumulator Global Advantage Plus Series Global Advantage Select Global VIP Elite Global Index Product Northstar Financial Services investments were sold by various financial advisors, have experienced suspension of monthly income payments, prolonged illiquidity, and have lost nearly the entirety of their value due to the recent collapse of Northstar Financial Services. Background On Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd. Northstar Financial Services was established in the late 1990s to offer fixed-rate and variable-rate investment and annuity products while based in Bermuda, offering supposed tax benefits in comparison to—for example—certain US-based investment products.Silver Law Group is investigating possible claims related to investments in a variety of investment and insurance products offered by Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd. Some of the investments offered by Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) include, but are not limited to:

  • Global Interest Accumulator
  • Global Advantage Plus Series
  • Global Advantage Select
  • Global VIP Elite
  • Global Index Product

Continue reading ›

Stanley Secor (Stanley Bernard Secor CRD:#1982414) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (CRD# 13572) of Salt Lake City, UT. His previous employers include Girard Securities, Inc. (CRD#:18697) and Securian Financial Services, Inc. (CRD#:15296), also of Salt Lake City, and WS Griffith Securities, Inc. (CRD#:10410) of Hartford, CT. He has been in the industry since 1989.  In 2015,Girard Securities partnered with Cetera Advisor Networks joining the Cetera platform. As part of Cetera, it is responsible for any of Girard’s liabilities. Cetera is a large network of interrelated brokerage firms all operating under the Cetera umbrella.  The Utah Division of Securities notified both Secor and Cetera that the agency began an investigation into Stanley Secor’s activities while with the firm. After an on-site investigation, the agency found that Secor engaged in:  Sharing in client accounts Roles in estates and trustee appointments that were undisclosed and unapproved Designation as client's beneficiary without the firm’s knowledge or approval Violation of former BD's WSPS and misrepresentation regarding the sources of funds Control and custody of client funds False statements Engaging in dishonest or unethical practicesStanley Secor (Stanley Bernard Secor CRD:#1982414) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last employer was Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (CRD# 13572) of Salt Lake City, UT. His previous employers include Girard Securities, Inc. (CRD#:18697) and Securian Financial Services, Inc. (CRD#:15296), also of Salt Lake City, and WS Griffith Securities, Inc. (CRD#:10410) of Hartford, CT. He has been in the industry since 1989. Continue reading ›

New York City REIT Inc. (NYC) has lost significant value since its public listing in August, 2020. Managed by AR Global, a partnership led by investor Nicholas Schorsch, many investors in the REIT have seen their investment decline by as much as 80%.  Started in 2013, New York City REIT, which invests in commercial real estate in New York, was one of many nontraded real estate investment trusts (REITS) managed by AR Global and Schorsch.  New York City REIT (NYC) Public Listing  Nontraded REITS are illiquid, which means they can’t be easily sold. However, they often pay a high dividend, and the selling brokers sometimes tell investors that a liquidity event (public listing) could happen in the future that will allow them to get their principal out.  Sometimes with nontraded REITS the liquidity event doesn’t happen, as in the case of The Parking REIT, which stopped paying distributions and told investors that a liquidity event may never occur.New York City REIT Inc. (NYC) has lost significant value since its public listing in August, 2020. Managed by AR Global, a partnership led by investor Nicholas Schorsch, many investors in the REIT have seen their investment decline by as much as 80%.

Started in 2013, New York City REIT, which invests in commercial real estate in New York, was one of many nontraded real estate investment trusts (REITS) managed by AR Global and Schorsch. Continue reading ›

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