Articles Tagged with morgan stanley

According to publicly available BrokerCheck records, James Carolan Speno (CRD#431912), a New York based securities broker, formerly associated with Morgan Stanley, was recently barred by FINRA. Attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against James Speno.

Mr. Speno has spent over 45 years as a securities advisor. His most recent registration was with Morgan Stanley in New York. Prior to that he was registered with Oppenheimer & Co.; RBC Capital Markets Corporation; Salomon Smith Barney Inc.; Lehman Brothers Corp.; Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., Sussex Securities Incorporated; Lehman Brothers Incorporated.

Mr. Speno is currently not registered with any firm.

It was reported by AdvisorHub on January 24, 2017 that the firm terminated three high producing brokers who were being investigated internally.  The three brokers were members of the PC Wealth Management Group.

The first broker, Michael Paesano, was reported to

have been terminated over “concerns” of his “exercise of discretion and investment strategy,” according to the AdvisorHub article.  According to Mr. Paesano’s publicly available BrokerCheck report, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), he has been the subject of 15 customer complaints, spanning his employment and registration at two broker-dealers, including Morgan Stanley from May 2011 to January 2017 and UBS Financial Services, Inc. from August 2005 to May 2011.  According to Mr. Paesano’s BrokerCheck report and the AdvisorHub article, the most recent customer complaint, alleging unsuitable investments and $1,000,000 in damages, resulted in a settlement of $245,000 to the customer.

First Wells Fargo, now Morgan Stanley.

On the heels of Wells Fargo’s cross-selling scandal, the broker-dealer Morgan Stanley has been accused of inappropriately promoting  “securities based loans” to customers, according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal on October 3, 2016.  The complaint, filed by Massachusetts securities regulators, alleges that Morgan Stanley’s lax compliance and supervisory oversight led the broker-dealer to breach their own fiduciary duties owed to their wealth management customers by pushing the loans and minimizing the risks associated with the accounts.

If the allegations turn out to be true, the Massachusetts allegations would further exemplify the conflict of interest between broker-dealers pushing risky products on their clients without providing the balanced view of the products that industry rules require, which could be breaches of duties to certain of their customers.  At the very least, FINRA Rule 2111 requires that broker-dealers ensure that recommendations of products are suitable for each customer, which requires a careful assessment of each customer’s respective investment objectives, risk tolerance, age, tax bracket, other investments, liquidity needs, as well as other factors.

The attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from customers of Steven Syslo who were recommended investments in SandRidge Energy, Inc. as a safe investment, or suitable for conservative investors. Mr. Syslo was employed by Morgan Stanley from June 2009 to June 2016, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck report maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). As disclosed in his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Syslo is currently employed by UBS Financial Services, Inc.

In July 2011, SandRidge Energy, Inc. traded at around $12 per share. The company announced that it was filing for bankruptcy protection on May 16, 2016, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.  According to the article, SandRidge Energy is an Oklahoma City-based driller, and is the latest oil and gas company to file for bankruptcy in 2016. Now, the company’s stock trades for pennies, and it is the company’s stockholders, including individual investors, who may be feeling the effects of substantial losses in their portfolios.

Broker-dealer firms such as Morgan Stanley are obligated by the securities laws and industry rules to ensure that recommended investments are suitable for each investor. Brokers must consider each investor’s age, tax status, net worth, investment experience and risk tolerance, among other factors. Investments in commodities such as oil and gas companies are generally considered to be risky investments. If investors were seeking conservative, stable investments, but were recommended oil and gas stocks or limited partnership interests, they may have claims for damages for unsuitable investments.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Barry D. Abrams.  Mr. Abrams is currently employed and registered with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., and works at the broker-dealer’s Marlton, New Jersey office, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck records maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Per his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Abrams was previously employed and registered by Securities Service Network, Inc. from 2001 to 2013 and was discharged from that firm for “exercise[ing] discretion in a client account without written authorization from the client and without firm approval.”  Prior to his employment and dismissal from Securities Service Network, Inc., Mr. Abrams was employed and registered with Morgan Stanley from 1995 to 2001, according to BrokerCheck records.

In 2015, Mr. Abrams was fined and suspended from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer for 15 business days by FINRA, after submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2013039371801 (AWC).  According to the AWC, Mr. Abrams violated NASD Conduct Rule 2510(b) (Discretionary Accounts) and FINRA Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade) by placing discretionary transactions in a customer’s account without first obtaining prior written authorization from the customer and acceptance by the firm for such discretionary trading.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Brandon Gioffre.  Mr. Gioffre was employed and registered from July 2014 to August 2015 with Constellation Wealth Advisors LLC, a New York broker-dealer, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  According to BrokerCheck records, Mr. Gioffre voluntarily resigned from Constellation amid allegations that he was involved in “soliciting a private placement” to three individuals.

Per his BrokerCheck report, prior to his employment and subsequent resignation from Constellation, Mr. Gioffre was employed by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney from June 2009 to June 2014 and was discharged from this firm amid allegations of “fee reversals in [his] personal Morgan Stanley account, continuing to maintain a pre-existing outside investment that never received written approval from the firm, and fund transfers between [his] personal Morgan Stanley account and the accounts of family members.”

Subsequent to his resignation, Mr. Gioffre was barred from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer on June 22, 2016 by FINRA, after submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2015046448701 (AWC).  According to the AWC, Mr. Gioffre violated FINRA Rule 3040 by recommending to several people an investment in a private placement that was not offered through his firm.  The AWC further stated that Mr. Gioffre “created the false impression that [the firm] sanctioned the private placement” by using the firm’s offices for meetings and his business email account to communicate with the investors.

The securities fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors who have complaints against stockbroker Richard F. DiVenuto.  Mr. DiVenuto was employed and registered with Concept Capital Markets, LLC, a New York broker-dealer, according to his publicly available BrokerCheck, as maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Per his BrokerCheck report, Mr. DiVenuto was previously employed by Morgan Stanley from 2009 to 2013, where he was discharged after the “concerns relating to employee’s involvement with outside company named Myos Corporation (formerly Atlas Therapuetics).”  Prior to his employment and subsequent termination from Morgan Stanley, Mr. DiVenuto was employed by Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. from 1994 to 2009, according to BrokerCheck.

Mr. DiVenuto was permanently barred from association with any FINRA member broker-dealer on April 13, 2016 by FINRA, after submitting a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent No. 2013036281301 (AWC).  According to the AWC, Mr. DiVenuto violated:

The investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law announce the firm’s investigation into potential securities law claims against broker-dealers relating to the improper sale of natural gas and oil linked structured notes and similar products to investors.

Malecki Law is interested in hearing from investors who purchased structured notes issued by well-known financial institutions, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), UBS (NYSE: UBS), and Barclays (NYSE: BCS).

These investment products, often bearing such names as “Phoenix,” “Plus,” “Enhanced Return,” “Principal Protected,” “Bullish,” “Leveraged Upside” or “Accelerated Return,” were reportedly marketed to investors as a way to make significant returns and income from the rising price of oil.  In addition to promises of increased gains, investments like these are frequently also sold to investors with assurances that their potential losses would be limited and their initial investment would be protected.

The securities and investment fraud attorneys at Malecki Law are interested in hearing from investors in Tortoise Capital Advisors and explore their potential options for recovering their losses.

The Kansas-based Tortoise Capital Advisors is a “privately owned investment manager . . . that primarily provides its services to high net worth individuals . . . and caters to corporations, pooled investment vehicles, investment companies, and pension and profit sharing plans . . . typically invest[ing] in [the] energy and infrastructure sector,” per Bloomberg Business.

Among Tortoise’s portfolio of funds, a number of them declined between 17% and 36% in 2015 alone, per Morningstar.

Today, Ms. Malecki was extensively quoted in the FundFire story titled MSWM Goes to Court to Get Former FA to Pay Back Loans. 

This story is focused on Morgan Stanley’s attempt to go to court to make a former advisor pay-up after FINRA arbitrator granted them a million dollar reward in a promissory note dispute case. Ms. Malecki, who has extensive and relevant experience with securities industry employment dispute cases opined that “it is common for wirehouses to pursue awards through FINRA arbitration when advisors leave the firm but don’t repay outstanding promissory notes” and this happens more often when markets are bad. The detailed story is available on the FundFire website at http://bit.ly/1ZAPssh