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Oppenheimer & Co. Faces FINRA Arbitration by Retiree, Alleges Mismanagement by Matthew Steinberg

Hello everyone, I’m Emily Carter, a financial analyst and writer. I specialize in helping people understand the complex world of finance in simpler terms. Today, I’m discussing a concerning case between an investor and Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., an American brokerage that’s caught the attention of many in our field.

Understanding the Case

As a retiree in South Florida, my goal was to build a nest egg that would allow for a comfortable and secure retirement. Now, enter Matthew Steinberg, a financial advisor with Oppenheimer, who was entrusted to manage a client’s portfolio. Discretion meant Steinberg could make decisions without checking in for each trade, with the expectation of aligning with the retirees financial aspirations. However, things went south.

The investor was led to believe that municipal bonds were a safe bet, often thought to be less than 1% likely to default. However, the portfolio suggested by Oppenheimer and Steinberg started sinking as multiple bonds defaulted — my client’s account was hemorrhaging money.

A Dose of Deception?

It gets thornier. Oppenheimer and Steinberg pushed the investor towards their proprietary options program, the Portfolio Enhancement Program (PEP), convincing them to borrow a hefty $1.25 million against their municipal bonds to join. The aim was to score a relatively safe additional 5% yield, but it backfired hugely, causing a significant financial blow to the retiree.

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This move, and the lack of forthcoming information about the risks associated with PEP, potentially violated FINRA’s fair dealing rule. As an advisor, it’s crucial to inform and educate the clients about any material facts regarding the recommended securities.

Unraveling the FINRA Violations

If the allegations hold, Oppenheimer and Steinberg didn’t just make bad calls; they broke a string of FINRA rules, including falling short on their responsibilities, neglecting to adequately oversee client accounts, breaching contracts, and even outright deception. It seems they also turned a blind eye to suitable investment strategies for the client’s specific financial situation.

To say this is concerning is an understatement—it’s saying, “Houston, we have a problem.” These alleged actions could shake other clients’ faith and potentially damage other portfolios managed through the firm. The requested damages? A whopping $2,500,000.00. That’s not pocket change; it signifies the depth of the financial loss and alleged misconduct.

You can learn about Matthew Steinberg’s career history and past disputes by visiting his [BrokerCheck report](https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/2430032) on the public FINRA website. He has been with Oppenheimer since 1994, and there is indeed one customer dispute on record.

As you navigate the seas of investment, remember, being educated about your rights as an investor and understanding the duty of brokerage firms is vital. Regulatory bodies are battling for clarity and fairness, but staying vigilant as an investor is paramount. If something seems amiss, it’s within your rights to challenge it.

Final Thoughts

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” Benjamin Franklin wisely stated. In the world of finance, misinformation or a lack of communication can be costly.

Did you know that a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that bad financial advisors can cost clients an average of 3% in returns annually? It’s critical to verify any advisor’s background and credibility. Always check an advisor’s FINRA CRD number, a unique identifier that allows the public to review the history of U.S. brokers.

It’s heartbreaking hearing about investors losing their life’s savings due to the actions (or inactions) of those they trusted with their financial future. This case, involving Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and the retirement dreams placed in jeopardy, serves as a stern reminder: vigilance is key. Be informed, be engaged, and never be afraid to ask the hard questions about where and how your money is being invested.

Your financial security deserves no less.

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