A complaint filed against Christopher Basile Ariola, formerly of Bay Mutual Financial in Santa Monica and Financial Telesis, Inc. of Aliso Viejo, California, accuses the SoCal broker of making a series of unsuitable recommendations to elderly retirees, and for improper undisclosed trading in a client's account.
According to FINRA, Ariola (CRD #2957096), while working at Bay Mutual, recommended three elderly customers invest a "substantial portion" of their limited retirement savings in gold and energy stocks. Investigators say this was unsuitable given the retirees' financial circumstances, investment objectives and low risk tolerances, and because the recommendations resulted in the inappropriate over-concentration of the clients' funds in the recommended gold and energy stocks.
The findings say that Ariola also engaged in securities trading in a fourth customer's TD Ameritrade retirement account without providing appropriate notice, made unsuitable recommendations to this customer, and engaged in short-term trading of gold and energy in the TD Ameritrade account, thus increasing the risk of loss to the customer's "already depleted and limited retirement assets."
The report states that as a result of Ariola's unsuitable recommendations, these four clients lost a combined $140,000.
Ariola's BrokerCheck report indicates four pending customer disputes alleging churning, unsuitability, negligence, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and transacting business in a client's account without the customer's knowledge or consent.
The record also indicates that in 2012, Bay Mutual Financial permitted Ariola to resign after he made some recommendations to customers that were inconsistent with firm policy, and became the subject of a customer complaint as a result. Two months after leaving Bay Mutual, Ariola joined Financial Telesis, Inc.
If you have invested with southern California broker Christopher Basile Ariola or with any broker or financial adviser who has improperly and unsuitably recommended excessive concentration and investment in a particular security, such as gold or oil and gas stocks, and such misconduct has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.