Former VSR Financial Services, Inc. financial advisor Steven Stahler has been fined and suspended by FINRA.
According to the FINRA Complaint filed August 27, 2014, Stahler made unsuitable recommendations to four customers and misrepresented material facts to the customers while he was a registered representative with VSR. He also placed a high percentage of their funds in private placements and non-traded real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), which exceeded the clients’ risk tolerance.
As the Complaint stated relating to two of the customers: “The Securities and Exchange Commission has recognized that high concentration of investments in risky securities can raise the risk of loss to an unsuitable level. The concentration of SB and P’s assets in the private placements and REITs exposed SB and PB to a risk of loss that exceeded their risk tolerance and investment objectives. In light of SB and PB’s financial situation and needs, Stahler had no reasonable grounds to recommend that they invest a total of approximately $837,500 (57% of their investment portfolio and 64% of their liquid net worth) in the aforementioned private placements and REITs, all of which are securities.” According to the Complaint, Stahler made similar recommendations and investments for the other two clients.
Stahler submitted an Offer of Settlement on October 29, 2014 relating to the charges and consented to a $15,000 fine and a six-month suspension, without admitting or denying the allegations. FINRA filed an Order Accepting Offer of Settlement on November 4, 2014.
Stahler was employed with VSR from 1992 until June 2009. From June 2009 through December 2011, he was a registered representative of Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc. He then worked with Ausdal Financial Partners, Inc. from December 2011-August 2012, and then with Lowell & Company, Inc. from August 2012 until November 2013. He is currently not registered with any investment firm.
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