Members of 16 different California households were sold shares of APEX Equity Options Fund which collapsed in August 2007. Collectively, these investors lost almost $9 million. They contacted an experienced securities law firm which advised them to jointly file a claim in Securities Arbitration through The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
The investors claimed that Jeffrey Forrest of WeathWise LLC failed to properly advise them when selling the shares of the APEC fund. Because Forrest was licensed as a securities broker by Associated Securities, the claim in arbitration included claims against Associated, which is responsible to supervise the activities of its brokers.
Because of the large number of parties involved, hearings on the arbitration claim lasted for 12 days. After the conclusion of the hearings the three person arbitration panel deliberated, then rendered an award requiring the respondents to pay back these investors all of their losses of $8.8 million.
“This is a great result,” said Securities Attorney William Shepherd. “The arbitrators followed the law and held the respondents fully liable for all damages to these investors. This arbitration panel also took seriously the duty of brokerage firms to diligently supervise those licensed through them. Firms are often content to receive income from clients advised by their broker but claim they are not responsible for their actions. Nor do securities laws recognize an independent contractor status for securities salespersons.”