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Former WFG Investments, Inc. Broker, Damian Bell, Has Had Ten Customer Complaint Disclosures Alleging Sales Practice Misconduct

Damian Bell (CRD # 2348521) is currently a registered financial advisor at International Assets Advisory, LLC in Daphne, Alabama. Damian Bell has been in the securities industry since 1993 and previously worked at WFG Investments, Inc., Rockbridge Asset Management, LLC, Gunnallen Financial, Inc., Wachovia Securities Financial Network, LLC, Captrust Financial Advisors, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, and Prudential Securities Incorporated.

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Damian Bell has been the subject of ten (10) customer complaints, alleging sales practice misconduct:
• October 2020—”BREACH OF CONTRACT, VIOLATION OF STATE SECURITIES STATUTES.” Alleged damages are $500,000 and the matter remains pending.
• June 2018—”CUSTOMER ALLEGES PURCHASE OF MORGAN STANLEY NOTE WAS UNSUITABLE AND IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE COMMISSION PAID ON THE NOTE AND A MUTUAL FUND. FURTHER, THE CUSTOMER SEEKS ASSURANCES THAT ALL OF HIS PRINCIPAL WILL BE RETURNED AT THE NOTE’S MATURITY.” The matter was denied.
• July 2017—”FAILURE TO CONDUCT DUE DILIGENCE ON AN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS AND BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY.” The matter settled for $5,054.000.
• May 2017—”Claimants allege failure to conduct reasonable due diligence, made materials misrepresentations and failed to disclose material facts. These activities are alleged to have occurred between May to October 2013.” The matter settled for $5.045,000.
• June 2017—”Customer alleges investment recommendations were unsuitable. Dates involved were from April 2015 to March 2016.” The matter settled for $4,950.
• January 2017—”Claimants allege failure to conduct reasonable due diligence, made materials misrepresentations and failed to disclose material facts. These activities are alleged to have occurred between June through December 2013.” The matter settled for $5,045,000.
• March 2016—”Claimants allege various failures including failure to conduct a reasonable investigation into Servergy, misrepresentation, unsuitable recommendations and breach of fiduciary duty.” The matter settled for $250,000.
• March 2012—”CLIENT ALLEGES MISREPRESENTATION ON TWO REITS, PURCHASED IN 2006 & 2008 AS WELL AS AN ANNUTIY PURCHASED IN 2005.” The claim was denied.
• October 2006—”CLIENT ALLEGES THEIR FINANCIAL ADVISOR MADE UNSUITABLE RECOMMENDATIONS AND FAILED TO DISCLOSE FEES.” The matter settled for $40,000.
• August 2003—”CUSTOMER ALLEGES UNSUITABLE AND CONCENTRATED INVESTMENTS IN HER ACCOUNT. DAMAGES UNSPECIFIED.” The matter was closed without action.

For a copy of Damian Bell’s CRD, click here

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.

Reasonable basis suitability requires that a recommended investment or investment strategy be suitable or appropriate for at least some investors. Reasonable basis suitability requires an advisor to conduct adequate due diligence so that he or she can determine the risks and rewards of the investment or investment strategy.

Quantitative suitability requires a brokerage firm or financial advisor with actual or de facto control over a customer’s account to have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of recommended transactions – even if suitable when viewed in isolation – is not excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together in light of the customer’s investment profile. No single test defines excessive activity, but factors such as the turnover rate, the cost-equity ratio, and the use of in-and-out trading in a customer’s account may provide a basis for a finding that a member or associated person has violated the quantitative suitability obligation.

Customer-specific suitability requires that a member or associated person have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommendation is suitable for a particular customer based on that customer’s investment profile. Among the criteria that a financial advisor must evaluate to satisfy his or her customer-specific suitability obligations include the investor’s:
• Age
• Other investments
• Financial situation and needs
• Tax status
• Investment objectives
• Time horizon
• Liquidity needs
• Risk tolerance
• Any other information disclosed by the customer

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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