The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the alleged misconduct of former securities broker Elizabeth Guarino. According to her publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Elizabeth Guarino has been the subject of a customer dispute.

Elizabeth Guarino was a New York based securities broker. She worked in the securities industry for thirty-three years. During her career, she was registered with four different securities firms. She is no longer working as a registered securities broker in any fashion.

Her Registrations

  • Lehman Brothers (1984-1993)
  • Salomon Smith Barney (1993-1999)
  • Morgan Stanley (1999-2008)
  • Wells Fargo Clearing Services (2008-2017)

The Allegations 

In August 2016, a customer alleged that Elizabeth Guarino placed them in highly unsuitable oil and gas partnerships. According to findings released by FINRA, these particular limited partnerships had a very poor credit rating. FINRA determined that these investments were highly unsuitable for an elderly investor with very limited investment experience. Not only were these investments highly unsuitable, but FINRA also determined that Elizabeth Guarino executed multiple trades without the customer’s authorization. This case was settled for $150,000 being given to the customer. Due to her alleged actions, Elizabeth Guarino was fined $10,000 by FINRA and was suspended from acting as a securities broker in any fashion for a period of fifteen months.

What Does This Mean?

These oil and gas limited partnerships are a type of investment known as a private placement. These private placements are unregistered securities that do not trade on any public securities exchanges. Due to their private nature, these products are very poorly regulated, which allows some less than scrupulous securities brokers ample opportunity to misrepresent them as safe and consistently lucrative. The truth is that private placements like oil and gas limited partnerships are incredibly speculative due to the nature of what they do. These oil and gas limited partnerships in particular are incredibly speculative because the energy market is incredibly volatile and often yields very significant losses for investors.

These securities are also incredibly illiquid. This means that investors cannot simply redeem their shares of an oil and gas limited partnership for the stated market value at a moments notice as they can with publicly traded equities. Investors in these products usually either have to wait for scheduled or third-party buy out offers. However, these offers are almost always substantially less than the stated value of the shares. This is because these partnerships only exist for a finite period of time until they are eventually liquidated. Investors are told to wait until the energy project is completed and the partnership is liquidated in order to redeem their shares for the stated value. However, depending how successful the energy harvesting project was, the value of the security may be next to worthless by that point.

Private placements like oil and gas limited partnerships are also accompanied by incredibly high, self-serving fees. Broker commissions for these products can be as high as ten percent. Compounded with other upfront fees, investor principals can be drained of as much as 17 percent just for the opportunity to invest in the product. These commissions create significant conflicts of interest for securities brokers and quite often cause products like these to be recommended to investors woefully unsuited for them–such as retired investors, investors with more conservative investment objectives, and investors with a lower risk tolerance.

Oakes & Fosher Can Help

Many investors are unaware of the legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or damages. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion may actually be entitled to damages.

Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with Elizabeth Guarino, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation. We work on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees charged unless we collect for you.