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Investor Alert: Unauthorized Trade Allegations Against Ameriprise Advisor William Bredthauer Raise Red Flags

As a seasoned financial analyst and legal expert with over a decade of experience, I have seen my fair share of cases involving investor complaints against financial advisors. The recent complaint against William Bredthauer, an Ameriprise Financial Services advisor based in Hopewell Junction, New York, is a serious one that investors should take note of.

According to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) records, Mr. Bredthauer received an investor complaint in April 2024 alleging that he made unauthorized transactions while representing Ameriprise. The complaint claimed damages of $354,800 before being withdrawn. This is not the first complaint against Mr. Bredthauer either. In 2013, another investor alleged losses due to his recommendations, claiming damages of $11,000. Ameriprise denied this complaint. A third complaint from 2008 alleged he failed to disclose details about a sweep option on the customer’s brokerage account, claiming $45,446.76 in damages, which was also denied by the firm.

As an analyst, I always advise investors to thoroughly research their financial advisors before entrusting them with their hard-earned money. A quick look at Mr. Bredthauer’s FINRA BrokerCheck report would have revealed these past complaints, which could be potential red flags. It’s crucial to understand your advisor’s background and history to make informed decisions about your investments.

Understanding the Allegations

The most recent complaint against Mr. Bredthauer is particularly concerning due to the high alleged damages of over $300,000. Unauthorized transactions, as alleged in the complaint, are a serious violation of FINRA rules. FINRA Rule 2010 requires brokers to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade. Unauthorized trading clearly violates this rule.

If proven true, the consequences for such violations can be severe, including fines, suspensions, or even a permanent bar from the securities industry. For investors, unauthorized trades can result in significant losses, as they may involve high-risk investments or strategies not suitable for their risk tolerance or financial goals.

Lessons for Investors

The complaint against Mr. Bredthauer serves as a reminder for investors to:

  • Research your financial advisor: Always check their background and disciplinary history through FINRA’s BrokerCheck.
  • Ask questions: Make sure you understand your advisor’s investment strategies and how they align with your goals.
  • Stay vigilant: Regularly review your account statements and question any unauthorized or suspicious activity.

As the famous investor Warren Buffett once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” Educating yourself and staying engaged with your investments is the best way to protect yourself from potential misconduct.

It’s also worth noting that not all investor complaints are validated. Sometimes, complaints may be withdrawn or denied if the claims are unsubstantiated. However, a pattern of complaints, even if not all are proven, can still be a cause for concern.

In conclusion, the complaint against William Bredthauer underscores the importance of thorough due diligence when choosing a financial advisor. By staying informed and engaged, investors can better protect their interests and work towards their financial goals with confidence. As always, if you suspect misconduct, don’t hesitate to report it to the proper authorities.

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