Cynthia Cowden (Cynthia Diane Cowden CRD#: 2054676) is a former registered broker and investment advisor whose last known employer was NPB Financial Group, LLC (CRD#:137743) of Lake Isabella, CA. Her previous employers include Tricor Financial, LLC (CRD#:142518) and Next Financial Group, Inc. (CRD#:46214), also of Lake Isabella, and Advantage Capital Corporation (CRD#:146) of Atlanta, GA. She has been in the industry since 1990.
A client dispute filed on 1/29/2020 alleged that Cowden committed:
Negligence, suitability, negligent misrepresentation and omission; intentional misrepresentation and omission; fraud; violation of California securities laws. Control person liability; breach of fiduciary duty; failure to supervise; unsuitability; over concentration, breach of FINRA rules; breach of contract; loss of investment opportunity; and financial elder abuse.
The client requested damages of $80,589.00, and the firm settled the claim for $57,000.
FINRA responded to complaints from their Senior Helpline from a married couple and a single investor regarding the unsuitable recommendations they received from Cowden. From August 2016 through December 2017, Cowden recommended very high-risk investments to them. All three lived in California, and were inexperienced investors.
Cowden previously had no disciplinary history with FINRA.
The married couple, who are retired, were sold $231,000 of NorthStar Real Estate Income Trust. This high-risk REIT is illiquid and non-traded, and comprised in excess of 20% of the couple’s net worth. This was more than double the 10% limit for California investors. The risk tolerance and illiquidity exceeded the couple’s moderate tolerance for risk, and were unsuitable for their investment objectives.
The single investor was still employed, and wanted liquidity with a slow growth. In this case, Cowden recommended Priority Income Fund, Inc. This high risk, illiquid, closed-ended mutual fund was speculative at best, and was clearly unsuitable for the client’s investment objective. The client’s investment of $250,000 was more than 50% of the net worth. The high-risk level and illiquidity of Priority also exceeded the client’s wish for a low to moderate tolerance of risk.
Additionally, Cowden gave false on-the-record testimony about the income and assets of all three clients. This falsified information made it appear that the clients had more than they actually did so that they looked to be qualified for these investments.
Cowden signed a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) and consented to FINRA’s sanctions. This includes being indefinitely barred from any association with a FINRA member in any capacity.
Less than a month after FINRA barred Cowden (11/4/2020), another customer dispute followed with similar allegations of unauthorized trading, no written authorization, and elder financial abuse. The client requests damages of $400,000. No additional information is available.
Cowden had two previous disclosures. The first was filed on 5/7/2012, alleging “misrepresentation, recommendation of unsuitable investment, breach of contract.” The client requested damages of $389,000, and the firm settled for $163,500.00.
The next disclosure was filed on 9/21/2006. This claim included: ”served papers 9/21/2006, 7 defendants named. declatory relief re-title. conversion, negligence, 5 breaches of fiduciary duty, financial elder abuse, tortious interference with right to inherit, fraud and decipt.” The claim was settled for $80,000.0 No additional information is available.
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