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Complaint Pending Against Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Shawn Burke Alleging Unsuitability

Shawn Burke (CRD#: 2615449) is a dually registered Broker and Investment Advisor at Morgan Stanley in Perrysburg, OH. He entered the securities industry in 1995 and previously worked for Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC; A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc; and Smith Barney Inc.

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in April 2021, a customer complaint was filed against Shawn Burke, requesting damages of $215,000. The allegation states, “Client complains that overweighting in UITs combined with regular turnover created a pattern of markups resulting in excessive commissions. Client also complains of unauthorized transactions. (5/31/2017-11/1/2020).” The customer dispute is pending.

In addition, Shawn Burke has been the subject of two customer complaints, including the following:

● May 2016–”Client claimed that she did not authorize trades, and that securities were selected that were too risky for her. (5/5/2015-5/27/2016).” The customer dispute was settled for $50,000.

● September 2011–”ATTORNEY ALLEGES FINANCIAL ADVISOR MISREPRESENTED POSSIBLE TAX CONSEQUENCES OF A WITHDRAWL FROM A VARIABLE ANNUITY PRODUCT. ACTIVITY DATE IS 2/17/10.” The customer dispute was denied.

For a copy of Shawn Burke’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

A Unit Investment Trust is a closed-end investment company typically issues redeemable securities (or “units”), like a mutual fund, which means that the UIT will buy back an investor’s “units,” at the investor’s request, at their approximate net asset value (NAV). A UIT typically will make a one-time “public offering” of only a specific, fixed number of units (like closed-end funds). Many UIT sponsors, however, will maintain a secondary market, which allows owners of UIT units to sell them back to the sponsors and allows other investors to buy UIT units from the sponsors.

A UIT will have a termination date that is established when the UIT is created, although it may be in the distant future. In the case of a UIT investing in bonds, for example, the termination date may be determined by the maturity date of the bond investments. When a UIT terminates, any remaining investment portfolio securities are sold and the proceeds are paid to the investors.
A UIT does not actively trade its investment portfolio. That is, a UIT buys a relatively fixed portfolio of securities (for example, five, ten or twenty specific stocks or bonds), and holds them with little or no change for the life of the UIT. Because the investment portfolio of a UIT generally is fixed, investors know more or less what they are investing in for the duration of their investment. Investors will find the portfolio securities held by the UIT listed in its prospectus.
UITs are known to produce commissions of 2-3%, which is above-average for most securities products. By selling UITs prior to maturity, the cost of ownership to the client increases and, in turn, the broker is able to generate higher commissions in a shorter duration of time.

Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at (800) 931-8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

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