Financial advisor Sam Aziz (Dublin, OH) has been suspended from the securities brokerage industry by industry self-regulator FINRA. At least eight customers have filed complaints alleging that Aziz made unsuitable investment recommendations to them and excessively traded their accounts. All of the cases have settled, with the aggregate settlement amount exceeding $3 million. Mr. Aziz has been associated with three different brokerage firms during the last ten years: Wells Fargo Advisors, Coastal Equities, and David A. Noyes & Company.
Financial advisors have a duty to recommend suitable investments and investment strategies to their clients. A recommendation is only suitable if it comports with the client’s investment objectives, risk tolerance, investment experience, investment time horizon, liquidity needs, and income needs. Together these considerations form the investor’s unique “investment profile.” The duty to recommend suitable investments cannot be disclaimed through risk disclosures or waivers.
Excessive trading, also known as churning, is “the excessive buying and selling of securities in a customer’s account by a broker, for the purpose of generating commissions and without regard to the customer’s investment objectives or interest or with the intent to defraud.” In the Matter of Timothy Gautney, Exchange Act Release No. 65151 (Aug. 17, 2011). It is actionable under the common law (negligence or fraud) and under securities laws, including Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5. It is also actionable under the common law on the basis that it violates FINRA’s quantitative suitability requirement set forth in FINRA Rule 2111. See, e.g., Miley v. Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., 637 F.2d 318, 333 (5th Cir. 1981) (finding that “NYSE and NASD rules are excellent tools against which to assess in part the reasonableness or excessiveness of a broker’s handling of an investor’s account.”).
If you have suffered losses as a result of the misconduct or malpractice of Sam Aziz, we may be able to assist you. Call us toll free at 888 607 4819 for a free, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.