Broker Investigation: Brian L. Stephan

Brian Lawrence Stephan (CRD#: 4222796) is a registered broker based in Xenia, Ohio. Since December of 2017, Mr. Stephan has been employed at American Wealth Management. This broker has also been associated with Commonwealth Financial Network (2014 to 2017) and LPL Financial (2003-2014).

On August 17th, 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against Mr. Stephan. According to FINRA, this broker made unsuitable investments on behalf of an elderly client, thereby causing that investor to pay tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees. Unfortunately, elder financial abuse remains a serious problem in the securities industry.

Allegations of Elder Financial Fraud: Broker Brian L. Stephan

The relevant time period in the case runs from May of 2012 to May of 2014. During that time, Brian L. Stephan was employed at LPL Financial. FINRA alleges that Mr. Stephan made 95 transactions on behalf of an 88-year-old customer. In the firm’s account records, these trades were marked as unsolicited. However, investigators do not believe that to be the case: the complaint alleges that Mr. Stephan solicited the trades.

In the course of making these transactions, FINRA contends that Mr. Stephan failed to effectively concentrate purchases within a single family of funds. By doing so, he made the customer ineligible for fee discounts. This type of conduct is a violation of the securities industry rule on breakpoint sales (FINRA Rule 2342). In all, the customer paid out more than $30,000 in wholly avoidable fees. In addition, FINRA alleges that Mr. Stephan took in more than $60,000 in ill-gotten commissions.

The FINRA Department of Enforcement requests that the disciplinary panel make findings of facts and conclusions of law, order sanctions, including the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and payment of full financial restitution, and apply other penalties where appropriate. Mr. Stephan has not admitted to any wrongdoing.

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