Posted on Sep 28th, 2015
According to a Complaint recently filed by FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), Equinox Securities may be responsible for decimating the retirement accounts of several investors.
FINRA alleges that Equinox financial advisor Chris Palkowitsh systematically drained client investment accounts. Here’s how the scheme worked:
1) Mr. Palkowitsh would sign up investors, promising to invest only a small percentage of their retirement accounts in stock while leaving the rest in cash;
2) Next, he would send the investors pre-populated new account forms that wildly overstated their financial sophistication and which stated that their investment objectives were speculation, when their investment objectives were usually much more conservative;
3) Mr. Palkowitsh would then execute hundreds or even thousands of trades in the accounts, racking up excessive commission charges and depleting the accounts even as his own payouts grew.
Posted on Sep 28th, 2015
Matthew Levitt, formerly of Equinox Securities in Santa Monica, has been permanently barred from the securities industry. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Levitt may have violated FINRA rules and federal securities laws in connection with the sale of securities in 2013. When FINRA began to investigate, Mr. Levitt refused to cooperate.
As part of its regulatory powers, FINRA has the authority to demand that licensed financial advisors submit to a meeting where they must answer questions about their business activities, When someone refuses to cooperate, they lose their securities license. That is what happened to Mr. Levitt.
Posted on Oct 4th, 2016
If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance you invested in or through an entity that is now in receivership, and you probably have a lot of questions! The purpose of this article is to give you a general overview of how receiverships work so you know what to expect. Every receivership is different, but every receivership goes through four overlapping stages: 1) stabilization; 2) investigation; 3) litigation; and 4) distribution.
These four stages all support the overarching goal of every receivership—the orderly winding down of a business in a manner that maximizes value for investors.
We will come back to these four stages in a minute, but first it is important to understand the background context that gives rise to a receivership.
Posted on Jun 23rd, 2015
Financial advisors love to sell variable annuities. The reason is simple—commissions of up to 8%. If a financial advisor can sell you a $200,000 variable annuity, that means commissions of up to $16,000. Not bad for a day’s work!
Unfortunately, commissions are just about the only thing that is simple about variable annuities.
The one reason why variable annuities are almost always a bad idea is that they are too complicated for ordinary investors (and normal people in general) to understand. Seriously, have you ever tried to read a variable annuity policy? Here is just one example from an actual policy. Try to stay awake through this, because there is a lot more you urgently need to know about variable annuities: