According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), Pittsburgh-area stockbroker Jonathan Freeze (“Freeze”) has been barred from the industry.
On June 20, 2017 in connection with an ongoing investigation relating to his recommendation of variable annuities, FINRA sent a request to Freeze for certain documents and information to facilitate its investigation. Freeze refused to cooperate with the investigation. Through his attorney, he acknowledged receiving the requests but he refused to cooperate. By refusing to provide the requested documents and information, Freeze violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010. He was then barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity. He signed a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”) in August 2017 acknowledging that he was barred from the industry and waiving certain rights granted under FINRA’s Code of Procedure. The AWC is now part of his permanent disciplinary record. To read the entire AWC see FINRA Case No. 2017052701401.
This was not Freeze’s first run-in with securities regulators. In October 2015, Freeze was sanctioned by FINRA and agreed to a 10-business day suspension and $5,000 fine for accepting a loan from a customer in violation of FINRA Rules 3240 and 2010. Freeze was fired by LPL after it discovered the unauthorized loan. Freeze was also fired by Stratos Wealth Partners LTD for the same conduct.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck Report, Freeze was registered with The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company from 10/9/1995 through 3/31/2006, Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation from 10/9/1995 through 4/6/2009, LPL Financial LLC from 3/31/2009 through 7/31/2013, Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. from 7/22/2013 through 7/14/2015, and Fortune Financial Services, Inc. from 7/2/2015 through 4/17/2017. Freeze’s broker report lists 18 disclosure items since 2010. Most recently, in October 2017, a former customer submitted a written complaint alleging that Freeze engaged in a prohibited activity known as “selling away” when he requested and received $30,000 to be invested in Alternative Energy Holdings which was outside the scope of the limited purpose broker-dealer with whom he was registered at the time, Fortune Financial Services, Inc.
Stockbrokers like Jonathan Freeze have a duty to ensure that any recommendation to purchase securities (including variable annuities) are suitable for the needs of each customer. Both stockbrokers and the brokerage firms with whom they are registered may be held liable for investment recommendations that are unsuitable for clients. Likewise, stockbrokers are prohibited from “selling away” or recommending investments which are not held or offered by the brokerage firm. Such activities are a violation of securities regulations.
Furthermore, brokerage firms like LPL and Summit have a responsibility to adequately supervise all brokers who are registered with their firm. Brokerage firms must take steps to ensure that their brokers follow all securities rules and regulations, as well as internal firm policies. When brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their brokers, they may be liable for investment losses sustained by customers. Experienced securities arbitration attorneys can examine the facts and circumstances in suitability and selling away cases to determine if the supervision of the brokerage firm was deficient.
If you are an investor that has suffered losses investing with Jonathan Freeze, you may be able to pursue a recovery of your losses through FINRA arbitration. Please call The Law Office of Michael A. Nagy, LLC at (724) 713-8228 for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your investment loss recovery options.
Michael Nagy is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and represents investors nationwide in securities arbitration matters. To learn more about the Firm’s securities arbitration practice, please visit http://www.michaelanagylaw.com/
All information contained in this blog should be deemed statements of opinion derived from the author’s review of public records, not statements of fact. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different and the question of whether you have a claim will vary on a case-by-case basis.