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Silver Law Group Files Another Arbitration Claim Against Voya Financial Advisors Regarding James Flynn

James Flynn VOYA Financial

Silver Law Group, a nationally-recognized law firm representing investors, continues to file FINRA arbitration claims on behalf of clients against Voya Financial Advisors regarding its former employee James Flynn (a/k/a Jim Flynn CRD# 3082615) of Greenville, South Carolina. 

The claims request compensation to recover investment losses suffered by our clients and allege that Voya Financial failed to supervise Flynn while he was a registered representative of Voya.

If you or someone you know has investment losses with James Flynn, Flynn Wealth Management, IFS Securities, and/or Voya Financial Advisors, you may have a claim to recover your losses. Contact us at (800) 975-4345 for a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no cost to hire us and you owe us nothing if we don’t recover money for you. 

James Flynn Barred By FINRA As A Stockbroker

Before being permanently barred by FINRA, James Flynn was a broker who caused serious damage to many clients. As of this writing, Flynn’s publicly-available FINRA BrokerCheck report lists an astounding 54 disclosures. 

The disclosures include 46 customer disputes, 2 employment separations, 3 judgment/liens, 1 bankruptcy, and 1 regulatory filing barring Flynn from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities. 

The Greenville News has reported on Mr. Flynn and recently ran a follow up story about our efforts to help investors.

Flynn Wealth Management 

Flynn wealth management logo

James Flynn owned and operated Flynn Wealth Management, which operated under FINRA-registered firm Voya Financial Advisors starting in 2013. As the firm that approved the investments Flynn Wealth Management sold to its clients, Voya is responsible for Flynn’s conduct. Voya fired Flynn in 2017 after he allegedly provided misleading information to the firm during an investigation into a customer complaint about variable annuities.

Flynn next worked for IFS Securities, before being fired after another client complaint involving variable annuities.

Why So Many Investor Complaints? 

Flynn seemed to have a preference for selling his clients variable annuities and real estate investment trusts (REITS), which are products that paid him a high commission but were frequently unsuitable for their investment needs. Some clients were overconcentrated in high-risk REITS, which have since stopped paying dividends and decreased in value, causing significant losses. 

Scott Silver, managing partner of Silver Law Group, is quoted in an InvestmentNews article

“Every client of Flynn’s got the same mixed bag of about 30% in variable annuities and then the rest a substantial percentage in REITs. A client came to see Flynn and was told REITs were the way to go.” 

Many of the claims against Flynn relate to investments in companies such as Phillip Edison REIT, Business Development Corp of America (BDCA), Hospitality Investors Trust, and others. 

Portfolio Overconcentration

Portfolio Overconcentration

Brokers have a duty to recommend suitable investments to their clients and not overconcentrate their portfolios. A brokerage firm may be held liable for overconcentrating a client’s account or investments in a singular product. High commissions and other incentives can lead a stockbroker to overconcentrate a client in these investments or inflate a customer’s net worth.

Claims Against Voya Financial Advisors 

Silver Law Group has multiple arbitration claims against Voya Financial Advisors, seeking to recover as much as $2 million in damages. Broker-dealers like Voya are responsible for supervising their registered representatives like Flynn.

Scott Silver is further quoted in the InvestmentNews article:

“The claims are against Voya because that’s where positions [in variable annuities and REITs] were put on, and most of our clients were told the need to hold the position. Voya was allowing him to sell these products in such concentrated positions. It’s surprising they were even on the firm’s platform.”

Non-Traded REITS 

Non Traded REITs

A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) is a company that owns real estate-related assets such as office parks, hotels, or homes. REITS are required to pay at least 90% of their taxable income to shareholders, so investors find them an appealing investment because of the income stream they provide. There are publicly-traded REITs and non-traded REITS. Some features of non-traded REITS are:

  • Non-traded REITs do not list on a national securities exchange;
  • Non-traded REITs have limited resale value and can lack liquidity;
  • Non-traded REITs can have significant upfront fees that can be as much as 15% of the price per share; and
  • Distributions may come from the principal paid for the non-traded REIT.

FINRA advises people considering investing in a non-traded REIT to ask questions about its benefits, risks, and fees. Due to their lack of liquidity, when the non-traded REIT ceases to pay dividends, it can leave it with little value. Each broker and brokerage firm is required to ensure that the non-traded REIT is suitable prior to selling the investment to their customer.

Variable Annuities 

Variable annuity

Variable deferred annuities are hybrid investments that contain elements of a security and insurance. According to FINRA, “Due to the complexity and confusion surrounding them, which can lead to questionable sales practices, variable annuities are a leading source of investor complaints to FINRA.”

Variable annuities have higher costs to investors than lower-cost investments, such as mutual funds, but some brokers push variable annuities on their clients because they are paid a higher commission for selling them. Recommending high-cost variable annuities without proper disclosures may constitute investment fraud.

Fortunately, the sale of variable annuities is regulated by FINRA and the SEC, and disputes regarding these sales can be resolved through arbitration, which allows an investor the chance to recover losses from the broker-dealer that sold it to them.

Scott Silver delivered a presentation on variable annuity fraud in October, 2019 at the 28th PIABA (Public Investor Arbitration Bar Association) annual meeting in Austin, Texas. The presentation dealt with how arbitration cases can be won to recover losses from unsuitable annuity and life insurance recommendations. Silver Law Group has helped many clients recover losses from variable annuities through arbitration

Customer Disputes & FINRA Arbitration Claims Against James Flynn 

Again, many of the customer disputes against James Flynn involve misrepresentation, unsuitable recommendations, and the sale of variable annuities and non-traded REITS. Below is a list of the customer disputes on Flynn’s record, starting with the most recent: 

  • January 15, 2020: Allegations: “(U)nsuitable investment recommendations, misrepresentations and omitting material information.” Damage Amount Requested: $350,000. Status: Pending.
  • January 7, 2020: Allegations: “(T)hat representative recommended high commission, illiquid and unsuitable investments.” Damage Amount Requested: $500,000. Status: Pending. 
  • January 7, 2020: Allegations: “(R)epresentative sold a portfolio of high commission, illiquid and speculative financial products to claimants.” Damage Amount Requested: $1,000,000. Status: Pending. 
  • January 6, 2020: Allegations: “Allegations include paperwork submitted to Firm reflected more assets than customer had resulting in investments that they were not qualified for.” Damage Amount Requested: $210,000. Status: Pending. 
  • December 30, 2019: Allegations: “Customer alleges too much was invested in REIT products due to his net worth being overstated on account documents.” Status: Pending. 
  • December 27, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include that illiquid real estate investments were not suitable for the customer’s financial condition.” Damage Amount Requested: $8,000. Status: Pending. 
  • November 29, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include misrepresentation, misleading investment guarantees, exaggeration of financial information and overall unsuitable investment.” Status: Pending. 
  • November 20, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include misrepresentation, misleading investment guarantees, exaggeration of financial information and overall unsuitable investment.” Status: Pending. 
  • November 18, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include various alternative illiquid and unsuitable securities were recommended by the representative(s).” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Status: Pending. 
  • November 15, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include recommendations were made for unsuitable and illiquid securities.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000.01. Status: Pending. 
  • October 14, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include various alternative illiquid and unsuitable securities were recommended by the representative(s).” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Status: Pending. 
  • September 10, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include various alternative illiquid and unsuitable securities were recommended by the representative.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Status: Pending. 
  • August 26, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include unsuitable investments were sold to claimants who are unsophisticated investors, risks were not aligned with their objectives, material risks were not disclosed, and the investments were overconcentrated.” Settlement Amount: $100,000. 
  • August 26, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include unsuitable investments were sold to claimants who are unsophisticated investors, risks were not aligned with their objectives, material risks were not disclosed, and the investments were overconcentrated.” Settlement Amount: $100,000. 
  • August 26, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include unsuitable investments were sold to claimants who are unsophisticated investors, that risks were not aligned with their objectives, material risks were not disclosed, and the investments were overconcentrated.” Settlement Amount: $245,000. 
  • May 21, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include claimants were sold a portfolio of unsuitable high-commission, illiquid and speculative financial products.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Settlement Amount: $65,000. 
  • May 2, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include misrepresentation of facts, exaggeration of financial information, and that documents were not signed in state indicated on application signed in Aug. 2016.” Damage Amount Requested: $400,000. Status: Pending. 
  • May 2, 2019: Allegations: “Statement of claim notes various alternative, illiquid and unsuitable securities were recommended by representative.” Damage Amount Requested: $1,000,000. Status: Pending. 
  • April 26, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include recommendations were made for unsuitable and illiquid securities.” Damage Amount Requested: $1,000,000. Status: Pending. 
  • April 26, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include misrepresentation and suitability related to alternative/ illiquid securities that were recommended.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Settlement Amount: $107,500. 
  • April 26, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include recommendations were made for unsuitable and illiquid securities.” Damage Amount Requested: $1,000,000. Status: Pending. 
  • March 27, 2019: Allegations: “Customer alleges rep told him he would have access to his money if needed and was never made aware of the surrender charges and risks that came with product recommended in Feb. 2016. Additional allegations include exaggeration of financial information and overall unsuitableness of the initial investment.” Settlement Amount: $33,600. 
  • March 18, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations within the statement of claim include customer was advised to liquidate entire portfolio and invest in unsuitable, high risk, high fee, and illiquid investments.” Status: Pending. 
  • March 5, 2019: Allegations: “Allegations include investments recommended in May 2015 were not suitable for customer due to age at purchase and customer was not informed investment was not liquid and could not be actively traded.” Status: Pending. 
  • February 27, 2019: Allegations: “The allegations within the Statement of Claim are that representative sold the clients a portfolio of high commission, illiquid, and speculative investments without regard to their investment objectives and risk tolerance.” Settlement Amount: $90,000. 
  • December 17, 2018: Allegations: “Statement of claim includes misrepresentation and unsuitable investments.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Settlement Amount: $145,000. 
  • December 11, 2018: Allegations: “Allegations include concentration of assets, surrender charges and benefit riders were not discussed, and lack of diversification. Contracts were issued in September 2016.” Status: Denied. 
  • November 9, 2018: Allegations: “Allegations in Statement of Claim include unsuitable investments.” Status: Withdrawn. 
  • October 17, 2018: Allegations: “Statement of Claim notes representative misled claimants by making false and misleading representations and made unsuitable investment recommendations.” Damage Amount Requested: $50,000. Settlement Amount: $90,000.
  • October 4, 2018: Allegations: “Allegations include misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendations beginning in August 2013.” Damage Amount Requested: $330,206. Status: Denied.
  • October 4, 2018: Allegations: “Allegations include misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendations beginning in August 2013.” Damage Amount Requested: $160,136.93. Status: Denied.
  • September 25, 2018: Allegations: “Allegations include improper sales of alternative investments, common law fraud and negligent misrepresentation.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Settlement Amount: $125,000.
  • August 24, 2018: Allegations: “Attorney representing customer alleges representative transferred assets from a 401k account into illiquid and unsuitable investments without proper diversification in August 2015. **Arbitration statement of claim includes violation of securities statutes, non-suitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty.” Damage Amount Requested: $100,000. Settlement Amount: $90,000.
  • August 20, 2018: Allegations: “verbal complaint alleging alternative investments recommended beginning in January 2014 were not suitable.” Settlement Amount: $50,000.
  • July 6, 2018: Allegations: “Customers allege most of their liquid net worth was invested in illiquid products recommended by representative beginning in April 2014.” Settlement Amount: $33,000.
  • June 7, 2018: Allegations: “Client States that rep misrepresented risks of variable annuity and sold the contract without explaining the product. All documentation was signed and initialed by client” Damage Amount Requested: $5,000. Status: Closed-No Action.
  • June 7, 2018: Allegations: “Client states that rep misrepresented risks of variable annuity and sold the contract without explaining the product. Reviewed the paperwork and documentation and all signatures and initials were intact.” Damage Amount Requested: $5,000. Status: Closed-No Action.
  • May 4, 2018: Allegations: “Customer alleges the recommendation for the alternative investment product purchased in June 2014 in his IRA and joint account was not suitable for his goals and objectives.” Settlement Amount: $74,000.
  • April 6, 2018: Allegations: “Attorney for customer alleges that REIT investment in August 2015 was not suitable and did not provide proper low cost, diversified, liquid asset for retirement.” Damage Amount Requested: $26,500. Status: Denied.
  • April 5, 2018: Allegations: “Customer alleged that an alternative investment product, purchased in 2012, was not suitable and was misrepresented.” Damage Amount Requested: $110,000. Status: Denied.
  • April 1, 2018: Allegations: “Customer alleges she was not properly informed about variable annuity and associated fees and penalties when purchased in Dec. 2016.” Damage Amount Requested: $36,126.89. Status: Denied.
  • December 14, 2017: Allegations: “Customer alleges the recommendation for the alternative investment product purchased in June 2014 in his IRA and joint account was not suitable for his goals and objectives.” Settlement Amount: $32,912.73. 
  • May 1, 2017: Allegations: “Customer questioned suitability of REIT investments and the replacement of a variable annuity policy. REITs were purchased in 2014 and 2015.” Damage Amount Requested: $115,000. Settlement Amount: $167,673.17.
  • March 3, 2017: Allegations: “Customer alleges trading activity in January 2017 was not authorized.” Status: Settled. 
  • January 1, 2017: Allegations: “Client alleges that the REIT product was unsuitable for him given his networth and investment experience and that he was unaware that he would not receive back the full value of the REIT if he liquidated it early during the tender period.” Damage Amount Requested: $21,336. Settlement Amount: $12,500.
  • December 20, 2016: Allegations: “Customer alleges they should not have been allowed to invest all retirement funds into Prudential annuities in 2010 and REIT type investments should not have been recommended/purchased in 2015 with proceeds of surrendered annuity due to age.” Settlement Amount: $196,788.18. 
  • June 26, 2015: Allegations: “Complainant alleged unsuitable recommendation of variable annuity product. claimant alleged account value decreasing.” Damage Amount Requested: $24,000. Status: Denied.
  • June 26, 2015: Allegations: “Claimant alleged prior firm, through MR. Flynn’s conduct, executed unauthorized, unsuitable trades involving a single stock in claimant’s former brokerage account in October 2012” Damage Amount Requested: $122,586. Settlement Amount: $52,500.

Contact Our Law Firm if You’ve Invested With James Flynn And Voya Financial Advisors, IFS Securities And/Or Flynn Wealth Management

Silver Law Group represents the interests of investors who have been the victims of investment fraud. Scott Silver is the chairman of the Securities and Financial Fraud Group of the American Association of Justice and represents investors nationwide in securities investment fraud cases. If you believe that you’ve been the victim of broker fraud, please contact Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group for a free consultation at ssilver@silverlaw.com or toll free at (800) 975-4345.

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