The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is currently investigating the possible misconduct of former securities broker Michael Spolar. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Michael Spolar has been the subject of numerous customer disputes.

Michael Spolar was, most recently, a Florida based securities broker. He worked in the securities industry for twenty-five years. During his career, he was registered with six different securities firms. He is no longer working as a registered securities broker in any fashion.

His Registrations

  • Lehman Brothers (1991-1993)
  • Citigroup Global Markets (1993-2005)
  • Merrill Lynch (2005-2008)
  • Morgan Stanley (2008-2013)
  • LPL Financial (2013-2015)
  • International Assets Advisory (2015-2017)

The Allegations

  • In September 2003, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar purchased highly speculative securities on their behalf. They also alleged that Michael Spolar breached his fiduciary duty. The alleged transgressions taking place between March 1999 and December 2000. This case was settled for $70,000.
  • In April 2009, a customer filed a complaint regarding the purchase of an auction rate security, or ARS. In February of 2008, the ARS market experienced an unprecedented shift to illiquidity. This case was settled for over $2.5 million.
  • In September 2009, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar misrepresented material facts and recommended unsuitable securities. This case was settled for $450,000.
  • In April 2015, Michael Spolar was discharged from his position at LPL Financial for allegedly exercising discretionary trading in brokerage accounts without the proper authorization. This action was in violation of the firm’s policies.
  • In December 2015, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar recommended unsuitable securities and executed unauthorized trades. The alleged transgressions taking place between March of 2013 and December of 2014. This case was settled for $140,000.
  • In January 2016, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar forged documents in order to open a new account. The customer also alleged that Michael Spolar purchased unsuitable products on their behalf that were unsuitable based on their investment objectives. This case was settled for $30,000.
  • In August 2016, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar recommended unsuitable investments and executed unauthorized trades–both of which allegedly caused significant losses. The alleged transgressions taking place between 2013 and 2015. This case was settled for $40,000.
  • In December 2016, another customer alleged that Michael Spolar recommended unsuitable investments and engaged in unauthorized trading. This case was settled for approximately $100,000 in damages.
  • In March 2017, yet another customer alleged that Michael Spolar recommended unsuitable securities and engaged in unauthorized trading. This case was settled for $57,000 in damages.
  • In May 2017, Michael Spolar was sanctioned by FINRA due to the previous allegations of exercising discretion in non-discretionary customer accounts. For these alleged actions, he was suspended by FINRA from acting as a securities broker in any fashion for a period of one month. During this time period, Spolar had been working as a registered broker for International Assets Advisory. However, while he was on his suspension, he allegedly contacted multiple clients. Due to his alleged actions, he was terminated from his position at International Assets Advisory in October 2017.
  • In December 2017, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar recommended unsuitable securities and engaged in unsuitable margin trading. This case was settled for $65,000 in damages.
  • In September 2018, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar handled their account negligently, engaged in unjust enrichment, and violated the Consumer Protection Act. This case is currently pending. The customer is seeking $641,000 in damages.
  • In November 2018, a customer alleged that Michael Spolar violated the Ohio Securities Act, handled their account negligently, breached contract, and breached his fiduciary duty. This case is currently pending. The customer is seeking $350,000 in damages.
  • In July 2019, Michael Spolar was once again sanctioned by FINRA. The findings in this matter state that he exercised discretion in customers’ accounts without having obtained written authorization to do so. Due to the alleged actions, he was suspended from the securities industry for a period of fifteen months.

Discretion

Securities brokers have a duty to their customers to always act in their best financial interests. Part of this means obtaining their authorization before they execute any trades on their behalf. There is a process known as discretion where securities brokers can execute trades for their customers without having to obtain their authorization every time. However, for securities brokers to begin engaging in this process, they need to obtain express written authorization from the customer. Not only does this provide a record that the use of discretion has been authorized, it also shows that the complex process has been adequately explained to the customer and they are fully aware what they have agreed to.

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 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 Michael Spolar, 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.