A recent industry-wide study of financial advisers found that seven percent of all advisers have been disciplined for misconduct, such as trading in customer accounts without permission or making unsuitable recommendations. Among the firms with greatest percentage of advisers with a disciplinary record are Oppenheimer (nearly 20% of advisers have previously been disciplined for misconduct), Wells Fargo Advisers FN (15%) and UBS Financial (15%).
In all, the study examined six of the 23 types of disclosures present on FINRA's BrokerCheck reports (available to the public at brokercheck.finra.org), applying positive hits to those types of misconduct that concern investment-related arbitration and civil suit or similar actions that resulted in judgment for the customer/complainant as well as discipline for violation of investment-related rules, such as a FINRA AWC document resulting in a fine, suspension, and/or censure.
A Columbia Law School called the study "eye-opening" while University of Chicago finance professor described the misconduct as "pervasive," the study finding that 44% of financial advisers fired or separated from a firm due to misconduct were hired by another industry firm within a year of that termination.
The following is a list of those firms which, according to the study, employ the highest percentage of financial advisers who have previously been disciplined for misconduct (Format is "Firm Name - Misconduct Rate - Number of Advisers"):
1) Oppenheimer & Co. - 19.60% - 2,275
2) First Allied Securities - 17.72% - 1,112
3) Wells Fargo Advisers FN - 15.30% - 1,797
4) UBS Financial Services - 15.14% - 12,175
5) Cetera advisers - 14.39% - 1,432
6) Securities America - 14.30% - 2,546
7) National Planning Corp - 14.03% - 1,760
8) Raymond James - 13.74% - 5,495
9) Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. - 13.27% - 4,008
10) Janney Montgomery Scott - 13.27% - 1,394
If you have invested with a financial adviser at these or any other firm whose violation of FINRA rules, misconduct or similar nefarious activity 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.
News: Study: Some 20% of Oppenheimer financial advisers cited for misconduct (InvestmentNews)