The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is currently investigating the possible misconduct of former securities broker Steven Knuttila. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Steven Knuttila has been the subject of numerous customer disputes.
Steven Knuttila operated most recently as a Minnesota based securities broker. He worked in the securities industry for nineteen years. During his career, he was registered with five different securities firms. He is no longer working as a registered securities broker in any fashion.
- Edward Jones (1998-2002)
- Raymond James (2002-2005)
- USAllianz Securities (2005-2006)
- Questar Capital Corporation (2006-2012)
- Capital Financial Services (2012-2017)
- In March 2010, customers, that had purchased two Jackson National Life variable annuities, alleged that features of the annuities had been misrepresented to them by Steven Knutilla. This case was settled for $117,062.
- In May 2012, Steven Knuttila was discharged from his position at Questar Capital Corporation for allegedly failing to report multiple customer complaints to the firm. He also failed to follow Questar’s policies regarding the use of discretion.
- In December 2012, a customer a customer alleged that Steven Knutilla handled their account negligently, violated the MN Uniform Securities Act, engaged in common law fraud, misrepresented material details, and breached contract all in connection with what was known as the Cornerstone Healthcare REIT. This case was settled for $40,000.
- In February 2013, a customer alleged that Steven Knutilla recommended that they purchase an unsuitable product and that he misrepresented details about the product. This case was settled for $45,000 in damages.
- In 2013, a seventy-five year old customer filed a complaint alleging that Steven Knutilla sold them multiple limited partnerships without fully explaining the risks. This case was settled for $200,000.
- In June 2013, a customer alleged that Steven Knutilla gave them poor investment advice. This case was settled for $91,000 in damages.
- In February 2017, a customer alleged that Steven Knutilla recommended unsuitable alternative investments. This case was settled for $135,000.
- In May 2017, another customer alleged that Steven Knutilla recommended highly unsuitable alternative investments. This case was settled for $875,000 in damages.
- Also in May 2017, a customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, common law fraud, and breach of contract in the sale of various private placements. The alleged transgressions taking place since April of 2011. This case was settled for $250,000.
- In April 2018, Steven Knuttila was sanctioned by the state of Minnesota. The allegations in this matter being that he sold unsuitable investments to numerous clients. Due to his alleged actions, he was fined $40,000 and barred from acting as a securities broker in any fashion in the state of Minnesota.
- In June 2018, a customer alleged that Steven Knutilla recommended highly unsuitable annuities and alternative investments. This case was settled for $444,995 in damages.
- In June 2018, Steven Knutilla was barred by FINRA from acting as a securities broker in any fashion after allegedly failing to comply with an investigation into the allegations of him recommending unsuitable products to customers.
- In January 2019, customers alleged that Steven Knutilla recommended unsuitable securities, breached his fiduciary duty and breached contract. This case was settled for approximately $80,000 in damages.
- In march 2019, a customer alleged that Steven Knutilla violated federal securities laws, violated the Minnesota Securities Act, and violated FINRA rules. This case is currently pending. The customer is seeking $445,000 in damages.
These are just some of the complaints filed because of alleged actions committed by Steven Knutilla.
What Does This Mean?
Securities brokers have a duty to their customers to only recommend securities to them that they know are suitable. Part of a broker’s job is conduct the necessary due diligence that is required for them to determine if a security is suitable or unsuitable for any given customer. Because of this, they cannot excuse themselves by claiming they were unaware of a product’s unsuitability. Intent does not matter, because an investor can experience detrimental losses whether or not a broker knew a product would be unsuitable for their customer, or rather should have known.
Multiple customers claimed that Steven Knutilla had placed them in unsuitable “alternative” investments. These types of investments are privately traded securities that do not trade on any public securities exchanges. Many less than scrupulous securities brokers try to push these products on unsuspecting investors by misrepresenting them as low-risk and high reward when nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that these private investments are risky and illiquid securities that are unsuitable for most investors.
Securities brokers receive incredibly high commissions when trading these products. These commissions can be as high as ten percent of the investor’s principal. This creates an undue conflict of interest because it causes brokers to recommend alternative investments even though they can be financially detrimental to their customers.
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 of the matter is that investors who have lost money in this fashion could 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 Steven Knuttila, 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.