The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has filed a securities case against Christopher Ariola, a former broker. According to the regulator, while he was at Bay Mutual Financial, Ariola recommended that three retirees invest a chunk of their retirement funds in energy and gold stocks. He is accused of helping a fourth investor with similar investments using a TD Ameritrade (AMTD) account under his control.
This caused the investors to lose $140K. All of them had previously worked for the same bus company. These were not sophisticated investors who could handle a lot of risk nor did they have unlimited financial resources to withstand huge losses. Ariola came to work with them after the employees decided to roll over their money from their 401(k) into a Bay Mutual Financial IRA.
FINRA alleges that Ariola recommended that these investors “invest heavily” in energy and gold, including high-yield dividend producing stocks that came with a lot of risk. One couple, both retired bus drivers, were about 80% exposed to these risky stocks because of Ariola’s recommendations. Another bus drives was 44% invested in the stocks.
FINRA said that not only did Ariola expose these investors to “significant” risks with his recommendations, but also the recommendations were unsuitable for them.
Our securities fraud lawyers represent investors that have sustained losses from unsuitable investments. These are investments that should never have been recommended to them in the first place. Not everyone can handle risky investments. Not every investment is a match for every investor’s goals or portfolio.
For elderly investors, sustaining huge investment losses after they’ve retired can be especially challenging. Please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, LTD LLP so that our elder financial fraud lawyers can help you explore you legal options.
Advisor Put Transit Workers on Risky Investment Path, FINRA Says, ThinkAdvisor, August 29, 2016
FINRA Sues Broker For Pitching Bad Energy, Gold Stocks, Law360, August 29, 2016