Financial Advisor Shirley Wong Has GWG L-Bonds Complaint

Shirley Wong (CRD#: 4869184) is a dually registered Broker and Investment Advisor at Ni Advisors in Daly City, CA.

Broker’s Background

She entered the securities industry in 2004 and previously worked for World Group Securities, Inc.; Citicorp Investment Services; and AXA Advisors, LLC.

Current And Past Allegations Of Conduct Leading To Investment Loss

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in August 2022, a customer dispute was filed against Shirley Wong. The FINRA sanction states, “Client claims unsuitable recommendation, breach of contract, etc. with concentration of $200,000 of GWG L-bonds and $50,000 withdrawal. Our records show that client purchased $150,000 of the product during 2018.” The customer dispute is pending, and damages of $100,000 are requested.

In addition, Shirley Wong has been the subject of two customer complaints, including two that remain pending, including the following:

  • June 2022 — “Claimants allege unsuitable trades, breach of contract, etc. which occurred in 2020.” The customer dispute is pending, and damages of $505,700 are requested.
  • June 2022 — “Claimant alleges unsuitable recommendation of GWG bond. However, there is no record of purchase.” The customer dispute is pending, and damages of $50,000 are requested.

For a copy of Shirley Wong’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

GWG Holdings (GWGH) formally defaulted on its obligation to L bondholders on February 14, 2022. Red flags were raised among investors after the company notified them that no interest or dividend payments would be made in January 2022, nor would maturity or redemption requests be honored, making the L bonds virtually worthless. On April 20, 2022, the Dallas company, which made a name for itself through life insurance bond sales, filed for bankruptcy protection after financing arrangements could not be made. This is a disastrous outcome for unsecured stock and bond holders as all income payments have ceased and the opportunity for principal recovery appears unlikely.

Retail investors in these privately issued, high-interest L bonds purchased more than $1B worth of them through more than 100 broker-dealers. But these alternative securities were created as high-risk, speculative investments–not typically suitable for low-risk tolerance investors who count on the liquidity of their securities. GWG Holdings bought life insurance policies through secondary sales using money raised by L bond sales; when the life insurance policies paid out, those funds repaid investors.

In February 2022, GWG Holdings defaulted on $13.6 million in payments and interest that it owed to investors and has since filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving clients with large, unexpected losses.

We Help Investors Recover Investment Losses

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.

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, tax status, time horizon, liquidity needs, and risk tolerance; a client’s other investments, financial situation and needs, investment objectives, and any other information disclosed by the customer should also be considered.

The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis.  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. We can be reached at (800) 931-8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

Attorney Matthew Wolper

Attorney Matthew WolperMatt Wolper is a trial lawyer who focuses exclusively on securities litigation and arbitration. Mr. Wolper has handled hundreds of securities matters nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), JAMS, and in state and federal court. Mr. Wolper has handled and tried cases involving complex financial products and strategies ranging from traditional stocks and bonds to options, margin and other securities-based lending products, closed/open-end mutual funds, structured products, hedge funds, and penny stocks. [Attorney Bio]