FINRA has barred financial advisor Steven Robert Luftschein, also known as Steven Lerner, from the securities industry. He was associated with nine different broker-dealers before joining Aegis Capital Corp. (“Aegis”). Mr. Luftschein was registered with Aegis between June 2013 and October 2016 and worked in their Melville, New York branch.
On January 13, 2021, FINRA accepted Mr. Luftschein’s Offer of Settlement and ordered that Mr. Luftschein be barred from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.
If you have lost money with Steven Robert Luftschein or Aegis, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
FINRA initially filed a complaint on May 13, 2020, alleging that from July 2014 through June 2016, while associated with Aegis, Mr. Luftschein churned and excessively traded the accounts of three of customers. During this period, Mr. Luftschein executed nearly 430 trades in the accounts. This resulted in annualized turnover rates ranging from 12.5 to 96.3 and annualized cost-to-equity ratios (or break-even points) ranging from 35.6% to 123.8%.
The turnover rate represents the number of times a portfolio of securities is exchanged for another portfolio of securities. Typically, a turnover rate of 6 suggests that excessive trading has occurred. The cost-to-equity ratio represents the amount an account must appreciate just to cover commissions and other expenses; this is knowns as the “break-even point” where a customer may begin to see a return. A cost-to-equity ratio above 20% suggests excessive trading. You can read more about excessive trading and churning here: Excessive Trading and Churning.
Mr. Luftschein’s churning and excessive trading was unsuitable and caused total losses of over $261,000 in the accounts while generating gross sales credits and commissions of approximately $136,200. According to FINRA, Mr. Luftschein received a substantial percentage of these commissions.
Additionally, FINRA alleged that Mr. Luftschein engaged in unauthorized trading in the accounts. Specifically, Mr. Luftschein executed 88 trades with a total principal value of approximately $3.1 million without the Customers’ prior authorization. In non-discretionary accounts, customers retain discretion, and brokers must always obtain their customer’s permission before placing a trade. You can read more about unauthorized trading in the context of both discretionary and non-discretionary accounts here: Unauthorized Trading.
At the time of the filing of the FINRA complaint, Mr. Luftschein was not registered with a FINRA-regulated broker-dealer.
Financial Advisor Steven Robert Luftschein (CRD#: 2690117)
Steven Robert Luftschein, also known as Steven Lerner, has been the subject of seventeen customer complaints and currently has one pending customer complaint on his CRD. The claimant alleges excessive and unsuitable trading, false and misleading statements, and is requesting $200,000 in damages. Most of the customer complaints allege similar types of violations as those outlined in the pending customer complaint: unauthorized trading, churning, and unsuitable recommendations.
Mr. Luftschein’s CRD also reports a few significant settlements for $132,500, $569,962, $100,000, and $782,000. These settlements list Aegis as the firm employing him when activities occurred, which led to the complaints.
Mr. Luftschein has been in the securities industry since 1995. During his career, he has been registered with the following firms:
- Joseph Stone Capital L.L.C., Huntington, NY (May 2017 – May 2018);
- Aegis Capital Corp., Melville, NY (June 2013 – October 2016);
- John Thomas Financial, New York, NY (October 2012 – June 2013);
- Rockwell Global Capital LLC, Melville, NY (August 2011 – October 2012);
- Paulson Investment Company, Inc., Hauppauge, NY (January 2010 – August 2011);
- Gunnallen Financial, Inc., Hauppauge, NY (October 2004 – January 2010);
- Maxim Group LLC, New York, NY (October 2002 – November 2004);
- Investec Ernst & Company, New York, NY (January 2001 – October 2002);
- Josephtal & Co., Inc., New York, NY (July 1996 – January 2001);
- J.W. Barclay & Co., Inc., Woodbridge, NJ (April 1996 – August 1996);
- Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY (December 1995 – January 1996); and
- Metlife Securities Inc., Springfield, MA (December 1995 – January 1996).
John Thomas Financial is a disreputable firm that was expelled from the securities industry by FINRA in October 2013.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY. We pursue FINRA arbitration claims nationwide on behalf of investors to recover financial losses arising out of wrongful conduct by financial advisors and brokerage firms.
If you have suffered investment losses with Steven Robert Luftschein or Aegis, contact New York securities arbitration lawyer Jorge Altamirano of Iorio Altamirano LLP at email@example.com or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a bilingual law firm, fluent in both English and Spanish.