A Finra arbitration panel awarded $404,482 to a client after a broker allegedly filled his portfolio with complicated products that were too risky for him.
Mark Watson alleged that Allegis Investment Advisors, Allegis Investment Services and former broker Brandon Curt Stimpson put him in unsuitable investments, violated fiduciary duty and engaged in unauthorized trading related to index put options tied to the Russell 2000 Index.
Mr. Watson's attorney said his client had turned to Mr. Stimpson to help him invest his life savings. Mr. Watson instructed Mr. Stimpson not to invest more than 25% of his portfolio in the index options, but Mr. Stimpson far exceeded that level.
The Finra panel awarded Mr. Watson $270,452 in compensatory damages, $53,730 in interest, $20,000 in expert witness costs, $60,000 in attorneys' fees and $300 in filing fees.
"He won everything he possibly could," said Jonathan Hafen, a shareholder at Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, who represented Mr. Watson. "We had a group that breached their obligations to their customer, and the Finra arbitration panel saw that, based on the award."
A lawyer for Mr. Stimpson and Allegis was not immediately available to comment.
Mr. Stimpson is no longer registered with Finra. He was discharged by Allegis in December for allegedly failing to follow the firm's policies and code of ethics, according to his BrokerCheck profile. He was involved in eight customers disputes over a 16-year career with five firms.