The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. is currently investigating claims against Howard Utz, a former Financial Advisor at Hazard & Siegel in Mars, Pennsylvania. Howard Utz has been in the securities industry since 1995 and previously worked for Securities America and Sunset Financial Services.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on June 2018, Howard Utz was discharged by Hazard & Siegel for the following alleged misconduct:
“FAILURE TO REPORT OUTSIDE BUSINESS ACTIVITIES. FAILURE TO REPORT PRIVATE SECURITY TRANSACTIONS. Acceptance of checks from clients made personally payable to the RR, with subsequent conversion to personal use.”
Howard Utz’s termination followed the commencement of an investigation by the FBI and SEC, which has not yet been concluded.
Often times, Financial Advisors who participate in private securities transactions are said to be “selling away.” FINRA strictly prohibits financial advisors from “selling away” or selling securities and investments to clients that are not offered by the brokerage firm with which they are employed. For example, it is illegal and a violation of industry rules for a financial advisor to recommend or even suggest that a client invest in the financial advisor’s own business or a business operated by his or her friends or family. It is not necessary that the financial advisor earn any compensation for recommending an outside investment.
The purpose behind this prohibition is to ensure that a financial advisor only offers to sell securities that have been vetted by his or her employer brokerage firm through a rigorous due diligence process. Most brokerage firms have an approved list of investments, products, and research that can be provided or made available to clients. Any deviation by the financial advisor from the approved product list may constitute selling away.
If you or someone you know was a customer of Howard Utz and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm, P.A. at 800.931.8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 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. Simply put, he knows how the other side evaluates cases, which gives you a competitive advantage.