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My Take on the Troubles Surrounding Broker Todd Michael Lesk and FINRA’s Crackdown

As a financial analyst and writer, I’ve seen my fair share of market ups and downs. But it’s particularly disconcerting when the people we trust to guide our investments fall from grace. That’s the story with broker Todd Michael Lesk. He’s become the center of attention after alleged violations with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), causing a stir among investors and those enforcing the rules.

When FINRA Drops the Hammer: Lesk’s Professional Downfall

I often emphasize the importance of following industry standards and how breaking them can lead to disaster. Lesk’s situation is a classic example. On October 6, 2023, he faced the ultimate professional consequence – FINRA barred him from acting as a broker for life. Why? He wouldn’t give up key information for an investigation into a cryptocurrency investment that he allegedly recommended outside his employer’s oversight.

He didn’t admit to doing anything wrong, but he didn’t fight the punishment, either. For those who aren’t familiar with how things work in our world, being barred by FINRA is a career-ender.

The Domino Effect: Lesk’s Forced Exit

When you don’t play by the rules, the repercussions come quickly. Just two days before FINRA’s final decision, Lesk’s employer at the time, Cambridge Investment Research Inc., cut ties with him due to his lack of cooperation with their and FINRA’s inquiries. It was a clear-cut testament to how serious these violations are taken.

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The Ripple of Discontent Among Investors

It’s impossible to talk about a broker’s misconduct without looking at their impact on investors. On September 19, 2023, for instance, an investor who worked with Lesk through LPL Financial LLC claimed Lesk gave bad advice that led to losses in non-LPL products over the prior year. They’re now asking for a staggering $1,000,000 in damages, and the case is still open.

Jumping back to 2017, an investor at Middlebury Securities LLC made complaints of unauthorized trades and excessive trading, also known as churning, in their account. Lesk and the company settled for $30,000, but it was a clear sign of ongoing concerns with his practices.

Watching these events unfold, I urge you as investors, or potential investors, to be aware. Bad advice from financial advisors costs Americans billions each year. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” By staying informed, we can all avoid the rough waters that come from missteps like these.

Your financial security is paramount, so always ensure your advisor’s credibility by checking their FINRA CRM number and staying alert to any red flags. By learning from these unfortunate situations, you’re putting yourself in a position to sail smoothly on your financial journey.

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