LPL Financial is certainly not a bucket shop or “boiler room” in the tradition of the Wolf of Wall Street and Stratton Oakmont Securities but lately, its beginning to behave like one. An industry leader with over 3300 employees, LPL is a big brokerage firm with offices throughout the United States. Recent enforcement actions targeting the company suggest that it may growing too big to properly manage and supervise.
Brokerage firms are responsible for the behavior and conduct of their employees. Stockbrokers are held to very high ethical standards. Among their responsibilities are obligations to not mislead customers, to fully understand their customers’ needs and to only make suitable recommendations.
This week the Massachusetts Securities Division fined LPL Financial $250,000 for using misleading designations on business cards. Massachusetts law prohibits stockbrokers from falsely using titles that suggest the holder has some enhanced level of expertise or training in senior issues. Although there is no indication that anyone lost any money, regulators believe that seniors are especially vulnerable to deceptive or high pressure marketing campaigns.
In announcing the settlement, Secretary of State William Galvin said, “In these days when workers are increasingly having to assume responsibility for their retirement savings, it is vital that the financial services industry not employ titles that suggest an expertise in advising senior citizens when none exists.”
LPL Financial is no stranger to enforcement actions by Massachusetts’ Secretary of State Bill Galvin. Last fall the company agreed to reimburse seniors over $500,000 after Galvin said the company failed to examine the fees charged to senior citizens when switching variable annuities. (LPL had to pay almost $3 million to settle similar charges by Illinois authorities.)
The announcement from Massachusetts regulators does not name any of the individual brokers allegedly using improper designations nor does it indicate that any seniors were actually harmed. LPL told an industry publication that it is reviewing its compliance procedures.
As American baby boomers reach retirement age, we expect more instances of financial elder abuse. If you lost money because of the misdeeds of a stockbroker or other financial professional, we may be able to get back your hard earned money. Most cases are handled by binding arbitration and are relatively quick. There are no legal fees unless we are successful in recovering your money.
For more information, contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.
MahanyLaw – America’s Fraud Lawyers