Independent Financial Group, LLC Broker, Brett Hartvigson, Has Had Four Customer Complaint Disclosures Alleging Sales Practice Misconduct
Brett Hartvigson (CRD # 2263087) is a Financial Advisor at Independent Financial Group, LLC in San Diego, CA. Brett Hartvigson has been in the securities industry since 1992 and previously worked at LPL Financial Corporation, Thrivent Investment Management Inc., and Lutheran Brotherhood Securities Corp.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Brett Hartvigson has been the subject of four (4) customer complaints, alleging sales practice misconduct:
• September 2020—”ALLEGES OVERCONCENTRATION IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS.” Allaged damages are $580,000 and the matter remains pending.
• February 2020—”FAMILY MEMBER COMPLAINED ON BEHALF OF CUSTOMER ABOUT THE LOSS OF LIQUIDITY WHEN ASSETS IN BROKERAGE ACCOUNT WERE MOVED TO PURCHASE FIXED ANNUITIES AND LIFE INSURANCE.” The matter settled for $11,182.57.
• July 2004—”CUSTOMER ALLEGES THAT HE WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE RISK INVOLVED IN PURCHASING HIS VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE CONTRACT ON 9/28/1997. FIRM FOUND NO BASIS FOR ALLEGATION BUT MADE A GOODWILL OFFER TO COMPLAINANT.” The matter settled for $750.49.
• July 2002—”SUITABILITY OF PRODUCT/INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION AMOUNT INCORRECTLY LISTED PREMIUMS PAID BY MEMBER; HAS BEEN UPDATED TO REFLECT $0.” The matter settled for $65,054.51.
For a copy of Brett Hartvigson’s CRD, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/2263087#disclosuresSection
On March 30, 2009, Brett Hartvigson was discharged from his employer LPL Financial following allegations he circumvented “firm policy in relation to variable annuity transactions.”
A variable annuity is complex hybrid financial and insurance product that offers investors a stream of income, tax deferment and a death benefit. The sub-accounts of an annuity are generally invested in mutual funds, the selection of which will dictate the potential performance of the annuity. While there are benefits of variable annuities, they are often outweighed by the risks and other features.
For example, variable annuities may include high annual management fees, surrender charges, lock-up periods, and mortality charges. In addition, it is commonly misunderstood that variable annuities offer guaranteed investment returns. They do not. Many financial advisors fail to disclose that investment returns may be impacted by market conditions.
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:
• 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 email@example.com.
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