The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is currently investigating the alleged misconduct of securities broker Fred Berens. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Fred Berens has been the subject of multiple customer disputes over the course of his career.

Fred Berens is a California-based securities broker who has worked in the securities industry for fifty four years. During his career, he has been registered with four different securities firms.

His Registrations 

  • Bache & Co. (1965-1976;1976-1976)
  • Bache Halsey Stuart (1976-1977)
  • Prudential Securities (1997-2003)
  • Wells Fargo Clearing Services (2003-present)

The Allegations 

  • In July 2009, a customer alleged that Fred Berens had recommended unsuitable investments and breached his fiduciary duty. The case was settled for $225,000 in damages.
  • In February 2014, a co-trustee of a customer’s account alleged that the only bonds that the client instructed Berens to purchase were those that could be put at par at death.  Instead, Berens allegedly recommended federal farm credit bank bonds in excess of the death put limit.
  • In March 2020, a customer alleged that from 2010 to 2016 Berens had recommended unsuitable and high-risk investments in Puerto Rico Bonds. This case is currently pending, and the customer is seeking $1.5 million in damages.

What Does This Mean?

Securities brokers are trusted by their customer and bound by their fiduciary duty to make investments suitable to their needs and wants.  Suitability is determined by multiple factors, namely risk-tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment objectives.  If, for instance, a customer alleges that an investment that was made was inconsistent with their risk-tolerance, the securities broker may be making investment recommendations that were unsuitable to the customer’s needs.  In 2014, Puerto Rican bonds were listed as “junk bonds” due to the Puerto Rican government’s inability to pay their obligations, making investments in these bonds high-risk and relatively illiquid.

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 negligence. The truth is that investors who have lost money due to this fraud or negligence 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 Fred Berens, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation. Oakes & Fosher handles cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees charged unless we collect for you.