SEC Brings An Enforcement Action Against Indianapolis Broker, Tamara Steele, For Selling Millions Of High-Risk Securities To Advisory Clients
The Wolper Law Firm is currently investigating claims against Tamara Steele, a former Financial Advisor at Comprehensive Asset Management in Pendelton, Indiana. Tamara Steele has been in the securities industry since the 1990s and previously worked at Purshe, Kaplan Sterling Investments.
According to publicly available records released by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on September 14. 2018, it filed an enforcement action against Tamara Steele, alleging, among other things, that she was “selling approximately $13 million of high-risk securities to more than 120 advisory clients – many of whom are current or former teachers or other workers in public education – without disclosing that the firm and its owner stood to receive commissions of up to 18 percent from the sales.”
A copy of the SEC’s litigation press release can be accessed at https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2018/lr24276.htm
In addition, Tamara Steele has a long history of regulatory and employment infractions, including numerous customer complaints, alleging sales practice violations:
- July 2018—Customer alleged “outside Business Activities, Selling Away and Private Securities Transactions, Unsuitable Investments, Negligent Account Management, Violations of the Indiana Securities Act.” The matter was settled for $65,000.
- June 2018—Customer alleged “outside Business Activities, Selling Away and Private Securities Transactions, Unsuitable Investments, Negligent Account Management, Violations of the Indiana Securities Act.” The matter remains pending.
- May 2018—Customer alleged “Outside Business Activities, Selling Away and Private Securities Transactions, Unsuitable Investments, Negligent Account Management, Violations of the Indiana Securities Act.” Alleged damages are $500,000 and the matter remains pending.
- January 2018—”Claimants allege that certain investments recommended by Ms. Steele were not suited to their investment objectives and were misrepresented.” The alleged damages are $95,000 and the matter remains pending.
Participation in outside business activities often leads to “selling away,” which is when financial advisors sell products and securities to clients that are not approved by the firm. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (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.
To review a full copy of Tamara Steele’s FINRA disclosure report, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/3227494#disclosuresSection
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 Tamara Steele and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm 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 represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration.
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.
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