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

Stephen Hollingsworth is a Massachusetts based securities broker. He has worked in the securities industry for thirty-five years. During his career, he has been registered with five different securities firms.

His Registrations

  • Merrill Lynch (1985-1988)
  • Smith Barney Shearson (1988-1994)
  • UBS Financial Services (1994-2005)
  • Wells Fargo Advisors (2005-2010)
  • Raymond James (2010-Present)

The Allegations

  • In June 2007, customers alleged that Stephen Hollingsworth recommended unsuitable investments and breached his fiduciary duty. This case was settled for $136,000 in damages.
  • In July 2013, a customer alleged that Stephen Hollingsworth churned their account, over-concentrated their account, recommended unsuitable investments, violated the Florida Securties and Investor Protection Act, engaged in common law fraud, breached his fiduciary duty, managed their account negligently, made negligent misrepresentations, and breached contract. This case went to arbitration where the customer was awarded $50,000 in damages.
  • In May 2018, a customer alleged that Stephen Hollingsworth recommended highly unsuitable investments. This case was settled for $40,000 in damages.

What Does This Mean?

Securities brokers are a brand of financial advisor known as fiduciaries. As fiduciaries, brokers have a duty to their customers to always act in their best financial interests. The main part of this fiduciary duty includes only recommending securities to customers that are suited for them. This suitability is determined by a customer’s age, investment objectives, financial situation, liquidity needs, and more. Securities brokers are expected to conduct the necessary due diligence required to determine if investments are suitable for a customer based on the above mentioned factors.

Securities brokers, like Stephen Hollingsworth, are also expected to diversify a customer’s portfolio in a suitable manner. If a broker over-concentrates a customer’s portfolio in one or two specific securities, then their financial success depends on the success of those few securities. It is also imperative that securities brokers adequately diversify investor portfolios among investments with varying levels of risk–dependent upon their stated objectives. A securities broker can place their customer in a variety of different investments; however, if all of them are high-risk, then the customer’s financial stability is completely predicated upon those high risk securities. An investor’s portfolio should be adequately diversified among different investments with varying levels of risk that match their stated investment objectives and 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 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 Stephen Hollingsworth, 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.