Financial Advisor and Broker Investigations
Financial fraud is an increasingly common type of criminal activity that has been taking place with increasing regularity during the last decade. In a survey conducted by the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Foundation, researchers found that 11% of the approximately 2,400 financial fraud victims surveyed lost a significant portion of money after engaging in seemingly legitimate deals with unscrupulous financial advisors or ‘brokers’. Furthermore, the study indicated that potential fraudsters solicited more than 8 of every 10 survey respondents.
Perhaps the most concerning finding of FINRA’s study, however, is the incidence of under-reporting that occurred among the majority of respondents. Researchers found that over 60% of apparent fraud victims neither reported nor acknowledged being victims of fraud when asked directly. Of the 11% who lost major savings due to the fraudulent activity of financial advisors and brokers, only 4% actually admitted to being victimized.
Being a complicated industry with relatively unpredictable outcomes, financial management provides an abundance of opportunities for deceit and fraud through many forms, making it somewhat difficult to detect. Furthermore, this specialized type of crime highly depends on manipulation and the abuse of trust that has developed between the unsuspecting victim and the actor.
Financial fraud becomes an even greater risk for many people who relinquish total control over their hard-earned assets to an “investment professional” or “investment advisor” who pledges to manage their client funds or portfolios in the most desirable and financially rewarding way. Although majority of investment scam targets are seniors (as they typically have the most to lose), countless victims of all generations have lost the entirety of their savings to crooked unlicensed or licensed financial advisors.
With the Internet widely available in the modern era, society largely lives under the pretense that anything and everything can be researched independently and accurately without further assistance. However, most people who attempt to dig deep on prospective financial advisors never find the appropriate sources from which to gain valuable information. Simply conducting a Google search in hopes of retrieving a “yes” or “no” to the age-old question — ‘Is this financial advisor or broker legitimate?’ — will not lead to a substantially supported determination. How many superficial investigations led victims to legitimize Bernie Madoff prior to his 150-year federal prison sentence? In order to dig deep enough on your prospective investment handlers, proper due diligence is absolutely essential, which means reaching beyond Google News and seeking the experts necessary to fully assess the legitimacy of the subject of interest.
In an effort to confront the ever-increasing incidents of financial fraud, Jennings Smith Associates has established a special investigations unit (SIU) comprised of highly skilled and credentialed specialists in various disciplines to assist both individual and corporate clients in precluding or preventing loss by unscrupulous financial advisors and brokers.
Too often, Governmental agencies including the SEC and FINRA have failed to uncover fraudulent activities within the financial services communities until the scam has unraveled, causing investors to lose some or all of their hard earned money. Recovery of these assets is difficult, if not impossible, because many laws enacted by our government officials favor the investment industry rather than victims of fraud by their chosen financial advisor or brokers.
Our Financial SIU provides investment due diligence strategies, using proven investigative tools, to determine if the individual or company you’re dealing with has a solid ‘track record’ of competency and integrity in the financial industry. This is a unique field in which official credentials, certifications, and licenses are not required of its key figures. In the absence of such distinguishing starting points, our thorough practices become even more essential in formulating a reliable comprehensive report of financial advisors and Broker Dealers.
If you have any concerns about your broker or financial advisor, have observed irregularities in your account statements, or observe any signs of dishonesty or evasive behavior when questioning your financial advisor about your investments, please contact Jennings Smith Associates for a free consultation by using our email form or toll-free at 866-629-3757. All contacts remain strictly confidential as required by law.
We look forward to hearing from you.