Many investors are unaware of the legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or negligence. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion may actually be entitled to damages. The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is interested in hearing from investors who believe that this could be them.
Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the alleged misconduct of former securities broker Clay Hoffman. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Clay Hoffman has been the subject of multiple customer disputes.
Clay Hoffman was a Georgia based securities broker. He worked in the securities industry for fourteen years. During his career, he was registered with four different securities firms.
- Edward Jones (2001-2007)
- Merrill Lynch (2007)
- Suntrust Investment Services (2007-2013)
- Summit Brokerage Services (2013-2016)
- In April 2013, a customer alleged she had no idea what was going on in her account while Clay Hoffman was her broker. She also alleged unauthorized trading. This case was settled for $80,000 in damages.
- In July 2013, a customer alleged that Clay Hoffman put her in unsuitable mutual fund investments. This case was settled for $26,316 in damages.
- In December 2014, a customer alleged unauthorized trading, fraud, fund conversion, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and unauthorized trading. This case was settled for $60,000 in damages.
- In April 2015, a customer alleged that they experienced losses due to improper suitability, unauthorized trading, and misrepresentation by Clay Hoffman. This case was settled for $90,000 in damages.
- In February 2016, Clay Hoffman was officially sanctioned by FINRA. The findings in this matter state that he executed discretion in a customer’s account without written authorization from the customer, or having his member firm accept the account as discretionary. Due to these alleged actions, he was fined $5,000 and suspended from acting as a securities broker for a period of fifteen business days. His registration was officially revoked after failing to pay the fine.
Securities brokers have an obligation to always act in their customers’ best interests. This obligation is also referred to as a fiduciary duty. Part of this duty means seeking authorization from customers before executing trades. This is because investors are entitled to the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they want to be invested in a particular security.
There is a process known as discretion where securities brokers are able to make trades on a customer’s behalf without having to obtain their authorization on every trade. However, a broker requires express written authorization from the customer and must have their member firm deem the account in question as suitable for discretionary trading before they can begin trading in that fashion.
Oakes & Fosher Can Help
Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with Clay Hoffman, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation.