Posts Tagged ‘investment adviser’

Video: How can investors review the background of a stockbroker or investment adviser?

Written on March 27th, 2011 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

How can investors review the background of a stockbroker or investment adviser?

Also available at KansasCityLaw.tv and The Kueser Law Firm’s website.
In this video, Jason M. Kueser discusses how investors can research the background of stockbrokers, financial advisors, and Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs). Background information related to stockbrokers and financial advisors can be obtained using FINRA’s BrokerCheck tool. Background and other information related to Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) can be found on the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website. In addition to these sites, there are various third-party sites/services that provide information related to stockbrokers, financial advisors, and investment advisers.

This video is provided for informational purposes only and nothing contained herein is or should be constituted as legal advice. If you have questions related to any legal topic, you should consult with an attorney and should not rely solely upon information provided via the internet.
The choice of an attorney is an important one and should not be based solely upon advertisements such as this website. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits. *Any information submitted via this website may not be secure and/or confidential. Merely contacting this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Considering Hiring a New Investment Adviser?

Written on July 31st, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that while the four major Wall Street brokerage firms experienced an outflow of $8 billion of assets in 2008, Registered Investment Advisers brought in more than $108 billion in new assets during the same period. This activity likely reflects a shift in investor preference from transaction-based broker relationships to fiduciary relationships.

Investors generally choose to have their financial affairs handled by someone they feel they can trust. Given the financial meltdown that has taken place over the last 2+ years, it is easy to see why investors would prefer to have a fiduciary manage their investments rather than a brokerage firm that has unavoidable conflicts of interest with their clients.

If you are considering hiring an investment adviser, another Wall Street Journal article also set out some questions that investors should ask financial advisers. Every adviser-client relationship is based upon different goals, and, as a result, each investor should ask different questions when interviewing a financial adviser. However, if you are looking for a list of standard questions, this is a good place to start.

It is important to know as much as you can about your financial adviser, stockbroker, etc. You can also find information about stockbrokers by checking FINRA’s BrokerCheck website and research registered investment advisers through the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) website.

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors in securities arbitration and litigation. If you are concerned that your investments have been mismanaged, please contact us to learn more about your rights.

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Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years

Written on June 29th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

This morning, U.S. District Court Judge Denny Chin sentenced Bernard Madoff to the maximum sentence of 150 years of prison for his role in a “historic” multi-billion dollar fraud.

Judge Chin stated “Here the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one instead that takes a staggering toll.”

Mr. Madoff’s “error of judgment” or “tragic mistake” (as he referred to his fraud) devastated the lives of thousands of people. While it is unlikely that Mr. Madoff’s former clients will receive any significant restitution, it is comforting to see that he was not able to buy leniency and that the maximum sentence was ordered.

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Another adviser allegedly defrauds clients

Written on June 11th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

On June 10, 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Matthew Weitzman, a New York investment adviser, with defrauding his clients out of $6 million. According to the SEC’s Litigation Release (No. 21078), some of these clients were terminally ill or mentally impaired.

The SEC filed its complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The Litigation Release also states that:

The SEC alleges that Matthew D. Weitzman sold securities in clients’ brokerage accounts and illegally funneled their money to a bank account that he secretly controlled. While Weitzman spent the money on a multi-million dollar home, cars, and other luxury items, he provided false account statements to clients often showing inflated account balances and securities holdings. Weitzman also submitted to a broker-dealer phony letters from clients that purported to authorize the money transfers. When clients questioned Weitzman about the transfers they did not authorize, he misrepresented that he was withdrawing their funds to make legitimate investments.

Mr. Weitzman is the co-founder and a principal of AFW Wealth Advisors, which is an alternative name for AFW Asset Management, Inc., a registered investment advisor located in Puchase, New York. According to the SEC’s release, Mr. Weitzman was also the Compliance Officer for AFW.

This is another example in a long line of instances just this year where an investment adviser has been alleged to have abused the trust and confidence placed in them by their clients. Fortunately, securities regulators are taking a more active role in finding, investigating, and, where appropriate, prosecuting offenders. Unfortunately, clients are suffering millions, if not billions of dollars in losses.

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors that have been the victims of securities fraud, investment fraud, as well as other forms of stockbroker and financial adviser misconduct. In addition, the firm represents consumers that have been defrauded. If you would like to contact the firm for a free consultation, please call 816.374.5865 or visit our website, www.jmkesquire.com, for more information.

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FINRA Agrees that a Fiduciary Standard Makes Sense for Broker-Dealers

Written on May 14th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

For the first time, FINRA has publicly stated that it “makes sense” that broker-dealers who provide investment advice should be held to the same fiduciary standard that applies to Registered Investment Advisers.

This is a significant development because broker-dealers and their representatives have relied upon an exemption in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 to escape these duties. The Investment Advisers Act exempts “any broker or dealer whose performance of such services is solely incidental to the conduct of his business as a broker or dealer and who receives no special compensation therefor” from its coverage.

Broker-dealers consistently take the position that their compensation is “solely incidental” to their broker-dealer business. However, virtually every broker-dealer has shifted their business model from that of the traditional “stock broker” to that of an investment adviser. These firms now call their representatives “investment advisers,” “financial advisers,” “wealth managers,” and other titles that reflect that their representatives provide broad advisory and/or management services.

While FINRA does not feel that it is necessary to change its suitability rules, extending fiduciary duties to broker-dealers is a significant step to increasing the rights and protection afforded to investors.

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Avoiding Investment Fraud

Written on April 29th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

Darren Barbee of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has written a good article that outlines various ways investors can reduce the risk of being defrauded by a financial or investment adviser.  

This is a “must read” article that anyone who is dealing with an investment adviser.  In addition, The Kueser Law Firm’s website contains an Investor Resource Center that provides helpful links to several sources that investors can utilize to do a background check on their financial or investment adviser (Investment Adviser Public Disclosure) and stock broker (BrokerCheck), as well as insurance agents that are registered to sell variable insurance products (BrokerCheck).  In these uncertain times, it is imperative that investors know everything they can about the professionals they entrust with their future.

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