- July 2, 2018
- NEXT Financial Group
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Broker Discipline
- Failure to Supervise
- UDF REIT
The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. is currently investigating claims against Stephen Williams, a Financial Advisor at NEXT Financial Group, Inc. in Madison, Alabama. Stephen Williams entered the securities industry in 2002 and previously worked for Raymond James.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Stephen Williams has eight (8) disclosures on his BrokerCheck, including seven (7) customer complaints and one regulatory event.
In February 2018, a customer filed a complaint against Stephen Williams, alleging damages of $350,000. It was alleged that the “registered representative recommended various non-traded REIT’s, misrepresented the products and failed to disclose properly the serious risks associated with private products…” This complaint remains pending.
Non-traded REITs do not trade a public securities exchange. For this reason, non-traded REITs can be illiquid, meaning investors may be unable to sell their investments on demand. Typically, the commissions generated on non-traded REITs are higher than industry norm and may be subject to extreme volatility due to associated risk factors. Non-traded REITs are only suitable for investors with a long term investment horizon who are willing to accept higher levels of risk in their investments.
In addition, Stephen Williams has prior customer complaints, alleging sales practice misconduct:
- February 2018—“Customer’s attorney alleges in 2018 registered representative solicited customer invest $50,000 in UDF III,” non-traded REITs.
- July 2017—“Allegations of unsuitable sales of five non-traded REITs…” The matter was settled for $37,500.
- January 2011—“Claimant alleges representative misrepresented an unsuitable product…” The matter was settled for $50,000.
- December 2004—“Claim alleges that Mr. Williams sold the client unsuitable investments in variable annuities.” The matter went to a final arbitration hearing and the panel awarded $65,000.
Stephen Williams has also been the subject of a regulatory sanction by the state of Georgia. In May 2007, the Office of Commissioner of Insurance for the state of Georgia censured Stephen Williams for the “negligence in offering of unsuitable investments.”
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.
If you or someone you know was a customer of Stephen Williams and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm, P.A. at 800.931.8452 or by email at email@example.com to discuss your specific situation and the legal options available. The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration.
Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, P.A., is a trial lawyers 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. His industry insight, experience and knowledge gives his clients a competitive advantage.