Massachusetts Charges Securities America and Broker Barry Armstrong over Misleading Radio Ads Aimed at Seniors

Per reports, William Galvin, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, recently filed complaints against Securities America and its broker Barry Armstrong over allegedly misleading advertisements that targeted vulnerable seniors.

Securities America allegedly participated in and failed to supervise Mr. Armstrong, in conducting a misleading radio advertising campaign.  In what has been described as a “bait and switch” technique, Mr. Armstrong reportedly ran the Alzheimer’s disease ads as a pretext to obtain the contact information needed to sell another service.

Mr. Armstrong, who hosts his own radio show, was said to have run ads on various AM radio stations that instructed listeners to call him for free information on Alzheimer’s disease.  Once listeners called in, their contact information was allegedly used to advertise financial services. According to reports, these deceptive ads were submitted to Securities America for review and were all approved by the firm.

The complaints requested a permanent cease and desist order, censure, an undetermined fine, and a requirement that Securities America hire an independent compliance consultant.

These allegations highlight the growing concern in the financial industry regarding elderly investors. Given their vulnerability, both regulators and firms have taken steps to ensure that seniors are protected from potential frauds. For instance, FINRA recently created a securities helpline for seniors.

Securities America is a FINRA registered broker-dealer and believed to have more than 2,000 financial professionals.  According to records, Mr. Armstrong has been a registered broker since 1984 and has been employed at Securities America since 2007. He has five disclosures on his FINRA BrokerCheck report, including three customer disputes. He was previously discharged from a broker-dealer for allegedly violating company procedures and for failure to supervise..

Malecki Law has previously represented many investors successfully in FINRA arbitration proceedings involving  firms’ failures to supervise their registered representatives and financial advisors.  If you believe you have suffered losses as a result of questionable actions taken in your securities account, please contact us immediately for a confidential consultation.