Financial Advisor Manuel Fernandez Subject of $1M Customer Dispute Involving Unsuitability

Manuel Antonio Fernandez (CRD#: 3079976) is a registered broker with Truist Investment Services, Inc. in Coral Gables, FL.


Broker’s Background

He entered the securities industry in 1998, and he previously worked with UBS Painewebber, Morgan Stanley, and SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.


Current and Past Allegations of Conduct Leading to Investment Loss

According to publicly available records by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in August of 2022, Manuel Fernandez became the subject of a customer dispute alleging, “unsuitable recommendations.” The damage amount requested is $1,000,000 and the customer dispute is still pending.


In addition, Manuel Fernandez has been the subject of three other disclosures, which include the following:

  • Jan 2022—“ Client alleges investment was unsuitable.” The customer dispute settled for $288,750.
  • Oct 2021—“ Customer alleges unsuitable recommendation.” The damage amount requested was $5,000 and the customer dispute settled for $138,600.
  • Oct 2020—“ Clients allege that representative made an unsuitable recommendation.” The customer dispute settled for $300,000. The broker comment included. “At the time of the recommendation, Northstar’s fixed rate investment contracts had been approved for sale on the SunTrust platform for many years and, based on the product’s features and track record, appeared by all accounts to align perfectly with the clients’ investment needs and objectives. Subsequent events arising from the later sale of Northstar to a different entity adversely impacted the company’s ability to honor contract holder redemption requests. However, there is no way I could have known about or anticipated those events when I recommended the product to these clients.”


For a copy of Manuel Fernandez’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.


The Problems with Northstar financial services (bermuda)

Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd. operated out of the country of Bermuda, although its investment products were also available in other countries through broker-dealers in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company was acquired by Greg Lindberg’s Global Bankers Insurance Group several years ago.


Northstar Financial Services was a Segregated Accounts Company that was regulated by the Bermuda Monetary Authority. Northstar Financial Services promoted its fixed and variable annuities products by describing them as the ability to offer segregated account protection, liquidity terms, commitment periods of varying lengths, and the benefits of a Bermuda trust structure.


Among the investment products it offered were variable- and fixed-rate annuities. Product names included Global VIP Elite, Global Advantage Plus Series, Global Index Product, Global Advantage Select, and Global Interest Accumulator. These products were allegedly marketed to investors as low-risk investments that could offer tax benefits in excess of those typically available in the U.S., making them especially attractive to American investors. According to some investors, these products were likened to money market account equivalents, which are generally considered to be relatively conservative investments with high liquidity.


Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd. has pursued chapter 15 bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings and is no longer solvent. Its owner, Greg Lindberg, is in prison and likely funneled the off-shore entity’s money into other companies he operated. In 2019, Lindberg was indicted on federal wire fraud and bribery charges, and he is currently serving in prison after his conviction in 2020.


A number of brokerage firms sold Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) securities products, including the following:

  • Bancwest Investment Services
  • Bankoh Investment Services
  • Bank of Hawaii
  • Cetera Investment Services
  • CommunityAmerica Financial Solutions
  • East West Bank
  • Hancock Whitney Investment Services
  • J.P. Morgan Chase Co.
  • Morgan Keegan Bank
  • Ocean Financial Services
  • Raymond James & Associates
  • Raymond James Financial Services
  • SunTrust Investment Services
  • Truist Investment Services
  • United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU)
  • Unionbanc Investment Services

Prior to selling any securities product to customers, brokerage firms have a regulatory obligation to conduct thorough due diligence to ensure that both the offering is appropriate for investors and the individuals involved in the offering are, among other things, law abiding citizens.  Here, inadequate due diligence was conducted of this offshore investment and Greg Lindberg’s involvement in same.  Instead, brokerage firms focused on the high commissions that could be earned by selling these products and sold them to retail customers as safe, income producing investment vehicles.


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 (855) 453-8611 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

Attorney Matthew Wolper

Attorney Matthew WolperMatt Wolper is a trial lawyer who focuses exclusively on securities litigation and arbitration. Mr. Wolper has handled hundreds of securities matters nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), JAMS, and in state and federal court. Mr. Wolper has handled and tried cases involving complex financial products and strategies ranging from traditional stocks and bonds to options, margin and other securities-based lending products, closed/open-end mutual funds, structured products, hedge funds, and penny stocks. [Attorney Bio]