Stockbrokers and investment advisors are trusted financial professionals. However, as they say, there is a bad apple in every barrel. And if you’ve been watching the news over recent months, the finance industry certainly has its share of bad apples when it comes to investment and securities fraud. But how can you tell if your broker is one of them? What may be some warning signs?
Brokers who engage in fraud or other types of illegal activity with client accounts need to shelter their communications with clients from the firm. One warning sign that a broker may be engaging in investment fraud is that the broker communicates with you through their personal email account about your investments or other potential investments, and not through an email account that is supervised by their employer
In most instances, brokers are required to use their email associated with the firm. Similarly, many firms prohibit brokers from texting with their clients, as it can be more difficult for a firm to police those private text communications. Communications with customers are also frequently reviewed by FINRA and other regulators. Thus, for brokers interested in selling products to clients outside of the firm’s offerings (selling away) or, even worse, trying to commit fraud against a client, using a work email only risks the broker’s misconduct is discovered by their firm.