One month and four days after filing a complaint alleging that Kelly Clayton Althar made unsuitable recommendations and excessively traded an elderly client's account at Financial West Group in San Francisco, FINRA officially barred Althar from the securities industry pursuant to a settlement order in which Althar consented to the industry ban and the regulatory findings, without admitting or denying the charges, including FINRA's finding that the unsuitable and excessive trading caused a substantial six-figure loss to the elderly client's net worth.
The settlement order states that Althar made unsuitable recommendations and engaged in excessive trading in two accounts held by an elderly customer at Financial West Group of San Francisco, California. FINRA wrote that the misconduct occurred between 2011 and 2014, and concerned a 68-year-old client who had hoped to retire in the next five years of her referral to Althar in 2011.
Specifically, investigators said that Althar engaged in high volume trading to generate commissions and overconcentrated the elderly client's accounts in risky securities even though she wanted only low risk investments and specifically "did not want a risk strategy" employed in either account.
The findings state that Althar's trading, often conducted "without consulting" the senior client, decimated her accounts to the tune of $187,000 in losses and generated nearly $140,000 in commissions, constituting the bulk of the customer's net worth and retirement savings.
Enforcement found that Althar purchased several hundreds of shares of risky securities including real estate investment trusts (REITs), such as the American Capital Agency Corp (AGNC) REIT, and later sold them for a loss while generating several thousands of dollars in commissions through the unsuitable transactions.
Althar, whose BrokerCheck report indicates several past disclosures, including a no contest plea to criminal felony grand theft (expunged effective December 2006), and a customer dispute alleging unsuitability and frequent trading (settled for $60k), left Financial West Group in December 2015, and associated with the Paulson Investment Company in Novato, CA until leaving that firm in May 2016.
If you have invested with former Financial West Group representative Kelly Clayton Althar, or with any broker or financial adviser whose inappropriate, unsuitable, or excessive trading or concentration in your accounts has resulted in losses or the generation of superfluous commissions and other unnecessarily incurred fees, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for an investigation and consultation.