James Barton Lowther, a financial advisor currently with Merrill Lynch in Sarasota, Fla., is the subject of pending customer complaints, according to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority BrokerCheck report.
One customer alleges $300,000 in damages over allegations that Lowther engaged in unauthorized trading, unsuitable investment recommendations, as well as misrepresentation and omission of material facts from November 2010 until July 2017.
Another customer claims that James Lowther is responsible for $1 million in damages. This customer alleges that the broker conducted unauthorized trades, made unsuitable recommendations, failed to follow instructions, and misrepresented material facts.
According to James Lowther’s FINRA report, the disputes occurred while the broker was at his current firm, Merrill Lynch in Florida. Lowther has been with Merrill Lynch since Oct. 2010.
Financial firms are responsible for supervising their brokers, including monitoring for unauthorized trading and reviewing trades for suitability with a customer’s investment goals and objectives. Merrill Lynch may be held legally responsible for unauthorized trading and other misconduct engaged in by Mr. Lowther while he was under the brokerage firm’s supervisory control.
In any non-discretionary brokerage account, financial advisors like James Lowther must obtain client authorization before making any trades in the client’s account. Brokers who fail to do so are engaging in unauthorized trading.
Clients should be aware that brokers engaging in unauthorized trading often cover their tracks with falsified documents and misrepresentations; however, investors who suffer losses because of their broker’s unauthorized trading can recover if they can prove the trading occurred without their consent.
Investors can take steps to protect themselves from unauthorized trading. First, clients should be clear in their instructions to their broker and keep notes of all conversations. Clients should review their account statements and other information they receive about their investments. Firms have an obligation to supervise their brokers, but clients who suspect unauthorized trading should contact their broker’s branch manager or compliance department when suspicious activity is discovered.
If you or a loved one invested with John Lowther or you suspect your broker has engaged in unauthorized trading, please contact the experienced attorneys at Meyer Wilson. They might be able to help you recover your investment losses.