LPL Financial is one of the nation's leading diversified financial services company and the largest independent broker-dealer. Created in 1989 by merging together the brokerage firms of Linsco and Private Ledger, LPL Financial has headquarters in Boston, Charlotte, and San Diego. The company now has almost 12,000 independent financial advisors that help clients with financial services including: bonds, annuities, equities, mutual funds, insurance, and fee-based programs.
A securities brokerage firm licensed by FINRA, Linsco/Private Ledger has a legal duty to supervise its brokers and its brokers' recommendations to clients to ensure compliance with and prevent violations of the rules of the security industry. When an individual broker is negligent or acts in an unlawful manner against the interests of the client and that client suffers damages as a result of such wrongdoing, the firm may be held liable for the investor's losses.
Mutual Service Corp. was a brokerage firm based in West Palm Beach, FL that was established in 1969. Since then, Mutual Service has merged with Lowry Financial Services Corporation in 1989, doubling its number of brokers. Mutual Service Corp. is now a part of the LPL Financial family of companies after a 2007 merger and has nearly 1,500 registered representatives.
LPL and its brokers have faced multiple claims of misconduct in the past. In 2010, two investors brought a class action lawsuit against the firm. They claimed that Bob Bennie, a broker at the firm, misrepresented the suitability of variable annuities in their retirement accounts. In 2011, FINRA fined LPL Financial $220,000 for failure to enforce its supervisory system, failure to establish, maintain, and enforce a supervisory system, and failure to use reasonable diligence.
In June 2013, Blake Richards, a former Georgia broker from LPL Financial, was accused of defrauding his clients. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that he stole at least $2 million in investments and took them for personal use. Some of the victims of this stockbroker fraud scheme were elderly.
Also in 2013, many claims were filed over LPL REIT losses. Meyer Wilson launched an investigation into these claims just days after the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Securities Division filed a lawsuit against LPL Financial over similar practices. REITs are Real Estate Investment Trusts, and in this case, the complaint was over non-traded REITs. These are not traded on a public exchange, so it can be difficult to know the investment's actual value. In the past, FINRA has warned of the high risks of non-traded REITs.
Complaints against LPL focused on a number of specific non-traded REITs such as Cole Credit Property Trust II and III, Dividend Capital Total Realty, Wells Real Estate Investment Trust II and more. Many LP Financial investors were given potentially misleading information regarding these investments that led to substantial investment losses and consequently, they may be entitled to take legal action.
Meyer Wilson has extensive experience in representing clients in investor claims such as this. We hold securities brokerage firms such as Linsco/Private Ledger accountable for their misconduct. Our firm represents clients with investor claims in federal and state courts, and in arbitration through The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and private arbitration. Meyer Wilson can also represent international clients bringing legal actions against brokerage firms in the United States through FINRA.