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The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. Has Been Retained By Client Of Former Voya Financial Advisor, Gregory Young, To File A Claim Involving The Sale Of Illiquid Structured CDs

The Wolper Law Firm, P.A. announces that it has been retained to file a FINRA arbitration claim against Voya Financial Advisors based on the unlawful recommendations of illiquid structured CDs made by its former financial advisor, Gregory Young.  Mr. Young has been out of the securities industry since 2017 when he was “permitted to resign” from Comprehensive Asset Management in October 2017 for failing to “timely disclose arbitration in which Mr. Young was a named party in violation of firm policy and FINRA rules.” 

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Gregory Young has the following four customer complaint disclosures reflected on his CRD involving similar recommendations of illiquid structured CDs:

  • July 2018 – “Client alleges misrepresentation of a variable CD during period leading up to its purchase.”  Alleged damages were $85,000 and the matter settled for $61,685.31.    
  • February 2018 – “Client alleges misrepresentation of a variable CD and corporate bond during period leading up to their purchase.”  Alleged damages were $50,000 and the matter settled for $35,000.
  • October 2017 – “Customer alleges representative offered a product that paid 7.75% interest for 7 months was a CD.  Product was purchased in April 2015.”  Alleged damages were $9,434.98 and the matter settled for $7,750.
  • July 2017 – “Misrepresentation of product.”  The matter is currently pending. 

For a copy of Gregory Young’s CRD, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/3063221.

Structured products are investment vehicles based on or derived from a single security, a basket of securities, an index, a commodity, a debt issuance and/or a foreign currency.  Structured products have a fixed maturity date and are designed to offer specific risk-return tradeoffs, which pre-set formulas for both the potential risk and potential return.  These calculations are complex and well beyond the capabilities of a retail investor. 

Investors are lured into a structured product with a promise of better returns and principal protection.  This is generally not the case.  Structured products traditionally pay investors a teaser interest rate in the first 12-36 months of ownership, at which time the formula for calculating interest changes.  The investor may be forced to hold the security until maturity at a significantly lower interest rate, sometimes zero, rendering the average interest rate earned on the structured product virtually the same as a traditional, but less costly or more liquid, investment alternative.  When the structured products are long-term the principle value also fluctuates, making early liquidation difficult, if not impossible. 

FINRA has issued investor notices with regard to unconventional investments like structured products.  NASD (now FINRA) Notice 05-59, which provides specific guidance on structured products, states that “NASD staff is concerned that members may not be fulfilling their sales practice obligations when selling these instruments, especially to retail customers.  FINRA mandates that “members must train registered personnel about the characteristics, risks, and rewards of each structured product before they allow registered persons to sell that product to investors….Training…should emphasize that, due to the unique nature of these products, many investors, especially retail investors, may not understand the features of the product, and may not fully appreciate the associated risks of investing in them.” 

The sale of esoteric products like structured CDs is a growing trend in the securities industry, particularly among independent brokers, due to the high commissions.  These structured products generate commissions of approximately 3%.  It is alleged that Gregory Young made the aforementioned recommendations in order to secure larger commissions, as opposed to putting Claimants’ interest ahead of their own. 

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.

The Wolper Law Firm is litigating multiple claims involving advisors who recommended and sold similar illiquid structured CDs.  If you or someone you know are clients or former clients of Voya Financial Advisors and/or former Gregory Young, and you experienced investment losses, please contact the Wolper Law Firm at 800.931.8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com to discuss your specific situation and the legal options available. 

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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