On behalf of a client, securities arbitration law firm Iorio Altamirano LLP has filed an arbitration claim through FINRA Dispute Resolution Services against David Lerner Associates Inc. (“David Lerner”). The claim alleges that President and CEO Martin Walcoe and David Lerner unsuitably recommended that the customer purchase and hold Puerto Rico municipal bonds and misrepresented and omitted material facts concerning the risk and safety of the bonds. The recommendations and misrepresentations occurred at a time when credit rating agencies were downgrading Puerto Rico municipal bonds and indicated that further credit downgrades were imminent. At the time of the recommendations, Mr. Walcoe was an investment counselor and branch manager.
The claim also alleged that David Lerner also failed to suitably and properly allocate the customer’s brokerage account. Instead, David Lerner concentrated the customer’s account in risky, speculative, and uninsured Puerto Rico municipal bonds.
David Lerner’s recommendations to purchase and hold speculative Puerto Rico municipal bonds and its repeated recommendations to concentrate the customer’s investment accounts into speculative junk bonds were unsuitable and not in the customer’s best interest in light of the customer’s investment objectives and “middle ground” risk tolerance.
If you have lost money investing with broker Martin Walcoe or David Lerner Associates, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
Financial Advisor Martin Walcoe (CRD No. 1593935)
Mr. Walcoe has spent his entire 34-year career in the securities industry at David Lerner. According to his biography on the firm’s website, in 2009, Mr. Walcoe became an Executive Vice President, responsible for direct branch management in the development of their sales teams. In 2019, Mr. Walcoe became President and CEO of David Lerner Associates.
According to his public BrokerCheck report, Mr. Walcoe has been the subject of three other customer complaints.
First, in 2012, a customer filed a securities arbitration complaint and alleged misrepresentation and unsuitability related to a recommendation to purchase a Real Estate Investment Trust. After an evidentiary hearing, the arbitration panel ordered David Lerner to repurchase the customer’s Apple REIT units. The customer received $260,000 in damages from David Lerner.
Second, in 2014, a customer complained that Mr. Walcoe’s recommendation to purchase municipal debt (possibly bonds) was not suitable. The customer did not file a securities arbitration complaint. Instead, the customer complained directly to David Lerner. At the time, Mr. Walcoe was a branch manager with the firm, and the firm denied the customer any compensation.
Third, in 2016, a customer complained of unauthorized trading—the complaint related to government-issued debt (possibly bonds) and common and preferred stock. Again, the customer did not file a securities arbitration complaint and complained directly to David Lerner. And again, the firm denied the customer any compensation. Mr. Walcoe was a branch manager with the firm.
David Lerner Associates, Inc. – Supervisory Duties
Brokerage firms like David Lerner must properly supervise financial advisors and customer accounts. Brokerage firms must also establish and maintain a reasonably designed system to oversee account activity to ensure compliance with securities laws and industry regulations. When a brokerage firm fails to sufficiently supervise its financial advisors or the investment account activity, it may be liable for investment losses sustained by customers.
How to Recover Financial Losses or Obtain a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one were a customer of Martin Walcoe or David Lerner and either sustained financial losses or suspect that the firm did not have your best interest in mind when recommending investments or account transactions, contact New York securities arbitration attorney August Iorio of Iorio Altamirano LLP. August Iorio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY. Iorio Altamirano LLP pursues FINRA arbitration claims nationwide on behalf of investors to recover financial losses arising out of wrongful conduct by stockbrokers and brokerage firms.