FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Contact: Carrie Bebermeyer, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Ryan Hobart, (573) 526-4734
Carnahan Recovers Over $150,000 for Missouri Investors
Jefferson City, Missouri – On Thursday, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's Commissioner of Securities, Matt Kitzi, entered into a consent order with Berthel, Fisher & Company Financial Services, Inc., bringing over $150,000 in restitution to Missouri investors. The consent order is the second action taken in recent months related to the activities of Berthel Fisher's former registered representative, James "Bo" Holland, Jr.
The first consent order, issued in December against Holland, concerned his unlawful sale of securities and unsuitable variable annuity recommendations. The second order, issued on Thursday, addressed the failure of the company, Berthel Fisher, to supervise its representatives.
"Every Missourian deserves to receive ethical and honest financial advice," said Carnahan. "And companies that employ brokers and investment advisers have an obligation to supervise those employees and ensure that they understand and follow the law."
According to the December consent order, Holland, of Lawrence, Kansas, acted dishonestly and unethically when recommending investments. Holland recommended that some of his clients continually switch their variable and equity indexed annuities, even though the switches led to surrender penalties, higher fees, long lock-up periods and taxation issues for the clients, and larger commissions for him.
In one instance, Holland recommended five variable annuity switches to one client in a 27-month period, which resulted in a loss of $34,000 in surrender penalties for the client and over $80,000 in commissions for Holland.
Holland was also charged with selling unregistered securities to his Berthel Fisher clients in the form of stock in a sports agency he started. Many of Holland's clients were former Hallmark Cards employees in the Kansas City area. Holland was suspended from acting as an agent or representative for one year and prohibited from selling variable annuities or equity indexed annuities for two years.
In the order with Berthel Fisher, the company agreed to pay over $150,000 in restitution to five Missouri investors, as well as over $75,000 to the state in civil penalties, payments and costs. The company also agreed to hire a securities law compliance consultant to review its processes.
For more information regarding investments and fraud protection, or for information regarding a company or representative, visit the Secretary of State's web site at www.sos.mo.gov/securities or call the toll free investor protection hotline at 1-800-721-7996.
Download the Consent Order
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