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Articles Tagged with Ameriprise

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Piggy Bank in a CageOn January 5, 2018, FINRA Enforcement signed off on a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”) between FINRA and former financial advisor Larry Martin Boggs (“Boggs” or “Respondent”) (CRD# 1582741).  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. Boggs voluntarily consented to an industry bar from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.

Mr. Boggs first became associated with a FINRA member firm in 1986 as a general securities representative.  During the course of his career, he worked at a number of brokerage firms, including Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (“Ameriprise”) (CRD# 6363) from July 2009 to May 2015.  Thereafter, he was associated with Wedbush Securities Inc. (“Wedbush”) (CRD# 877) for less than a year (2015-2016).

In May 2015, Mr. Boggs was discharged from his position by Ameriprise, based on allegations of “violations of company policy related to discretionary trading and suitability.”  At around the same time frame, FINRA Enforcement conducted an investigation into Mr. Boggs and his sales practices and handling of customer accounts.  FINRA’s findings include the following alleged activities and purported misconduct:

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financial charts and stockbrokerOn December 8, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a Cease-and-Desist Order (“Order”) against Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (“Ameriprise”) in connection with allegations that Ameriprise and its employees or agents purportedly misrepresented the performance of certain ETF strategies.  Specifically, the SEC’s investigation focused on sales of AlphaSector strategies by ETF manager F-Squared Investments, Inc. (“F-Squared”).  The F-Squared AlphaSector strategies, which were based upon an algorithm, were sector rotation strategies designed to issue a “signal” as to whether to buy or sell certain ETFs, that together, comprised the industries in the S&P 500 Index.

Pursuant to the Order, the SEC has alleged that F-Squared materially miscalculated the historical performance of its AlphaSector strategies (from April 2001 to September 2008) by incorrectly implementing signals in advance of when such signals could have occurred.  In addition, the SEC alleged that F-Squared relied upon hypothetical and back-tested historical performance that was purportedly inflated substantially over what actual performance would have been had F-Squared applied the signals accurately.

In December 2014, F-Squared agreed to pay a $35 million fine to the SEC, and furthermore, admitting to wrongdoing regarding falsifying performance numbers in its advertising and marketing materials.  See In the Matter of F-Squared Investments, Inc., Admin. Proceeding No. 3-16325 (Dec. 22, 2014).  By July 2015, F-Squared filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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Investors’ rights lawyers are advising senior investors to stay alert when looking at potential investment opportunities.  Recently,  a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel entered an arbitration award in favor of a senior couple against Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. regarding an investment made six years ago.

investment fraud laywer

Albertus Niehuis Jr. and his wife Andrea allegedly made an investment with Ameriprise Financial in early 2008 involving three high-risk tenant-in-common investments in hotels and office complexes. The total investment amount was $1.03 million.  One of these three investments failed completely, and the other two lost significant value.

Fortunately, Niehuis and his wife had the good sense to contact a securities arbitration lawyer, and their situation was put in front of a FINRA arbitration panel.  The FINRA panel found that Ameriprise’s investment advice was not appropriate considering the elderly couple’s risk tolerance and ordered Ameriprise to pay $1.17 million to the couple

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Massachusetts securities regulator William Galvin today announced settlements with five leading stock brokerages to make $8.6 million in restitution to investors and pay fines totaling $975,000 in connection with charges that the five firms engaged in improper sales of non-traded REITs to investors.

The five firms that settled with Massachusetts are Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., Commonwealth Financial Network, Royal Alliance Associates Inc., Securities America Inc., and Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp.

“Our investigation into the sales of REITs, triggered by investor complaints, showed a pattern of impropriety on the sales of these popular but risky investments on the part of independent brokerage firms where supervision has historically been difficult to monitor,” Mr. Galvin said in a statement.

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