Donald Lee Smith – and the firm that employs him or her – is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
If you are like most people, before you go out to dinner at a new restaurant, you probably take a quick look at the reviews. This makes sense; you are going to pay for an expensive dinner, and you need to be sure that you are getting a good value.
Yet, when choosing a financial advisor, many people fail to conduct this same level of due diligence. Before turning over access to your money, you need to be sure that you have found a financial advisor that you can trust. Here, our audit report, including details of allegations, complaints, and sanctions will help you decide whether or not to invest with Donald Lee Smith.
BrokerComplaints.com is currently investigating allegations related to Donald Lee Smith. We provide a free platform for investors to help them in their claims against negligent brokers and brokerage firms.
About Donald Smith
Donald Lee Smith is an Investment Adviser. Donald Lee Smith’s Central Registration Depository (CRD) number is 1134141 and the FINRA Profile can be found at – https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/1134141.
Click here to download a Detailed Audit Report for Donald Lee Smith.
Donald Lee Smith has previously been reprimanded and has disclosures and/or client dispute(s) listed at FINRA BrokerCheck.
Accusations and Disclosures
You can find below, a quick snapshot of Donald Lee Smith’s regulatory actions, arbitrations, and complaints.
DISCLOSURE 1 –
- Event Date: 3/30/2020
- Disclosure Type: Customer Dispute
- Disclosure Resolution: Pending
- Disclosure Detail :: Allegations: Smith was named in a customer complaint that asserted the following causes of action: Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL); Negligence/Unsuitability; Fraud; Violations of FINRA Rules 2010 and 2020; Pennsylvania Securities Act of 1972 (1972 Act); Fraudulent Concealment; Breach of Contract; Breach of Contract/Rescission and Breach of Contract/Specific Performance
- Damage Amount Requested: $81,666.00
- Arbitration Docket Number:
DISCLOSURE 2 –
- Event Date: 7/31/1997
- Disclosure Type: Employment Separation After Allegations
- Disclosure Resolution:
- Disclosure Detail :: Firm Name: VESTAX SECURITIES CORPORATION
- Termination Type: Discharged
- Allegations: Not Provided (1) FAILURE TO GIVE NOTIFICATION TO EMPLOYER PRIOR TO ENGAGING IN THE SALE OF SECURITIES OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT, AND (2) FAILURE TO GIVE NOTIFICATION TO EMPLOYER PRIOR TO ENGAGING IN BUSINESS ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT.
- Broker Comment: FULL TERMINATION VESTAX SECURITIES FILED U-5 TERMINATION ON BEHALF OF DONALD SMITH IN 1997 FOR THE ABOVE REASONS IN ITEM NUMBER 7. THE NASD INITIATED A REVIEW OF THIS TERMINATION AND REQUESTED INFORMATION FROM DONALD SMITH ING MARCH OF 1998. DONALD SMITH PROVIDED ALL DOCUMENTATION IN HIS POSSESSION IN MAY AND JUNE OF 1998. DONALD SMITH BELIEVES THAT HE DISCLOSED HIS OUTSIDE BUSINESS ACTIVITIES IN 1995 TO VESTAX SECURITIES, HIS FORMER BROKER DEALER. HOWEVER, VESTAX SECURITIES STATES THEY DO NOT HAVE 1995 AUDIT INFORMATION IN THEIR FILES.
DISCLOSURE 3 –
- Event Date: 5/15/1978
- Disclosure Type: Criminal
- Disclosure Resolution: Final Disposition
- Disclosure Detail :: Criminal Charges :: Charges: VIOLATION OF CODE 780-113(2)(30)F (DELIVERY & POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA)
- Broker Comment: Not Provided
According to a study prepared for the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, 80 percent of American investors report that they have been solicited to participate in a fraud scheme, while 11 percent of American investors report that they personally lost money as a result of fraud.
FINRA notes that the rate of investment fraud is most likely much higher than it is reported. This is because many victims of financial advisor scams are too ashamed to come forward. Further, the study also found that a significant number of investors do not know how to spot common red flags of investment fraud. The least you should do is share your experience with other potential victims of investment scams.
Under federal securities law and securities industry regulations, registered investment firms have a legal duty to supervise their financial advisors. Section 15(b)(4)(E) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 makes a securities firm liable for the conduct of representatives.
- PROVIDENT PRIVATE CAPITAL PARTNERS, INC. (CRD#: 44513) :: 1/14/1999 – 3/31/2020 :: ERIE, PA
- VESTAX SECURITIES CORPORATION (CRD#: 10332) :: 10/20/1992 – 8/1/1997 :: HUDSON, OH
- LINSCO/PRIVATE LEDGER CORP. (CRD#: 6413) :: 8/14/1987 – 9/9/1992 :: FORT MILL, SC
- E. F. HUTTON & COMPANY INC (CRD#: 235) :: 6/15/1983 – 8/29/1987
The duty to supervise securities representatives is a strong legal requirement. Registered investment firms must take many different steps to ensure that they are protecting their customers from irresponsible and criminal financial advisors.
Legit or Not?
Unfortunately, stockbroker fraud is more common than many investors would like to think. And yes, stockbrokers (including Donald Lee Smith, but not limited to) can (and do) steal money from their clients. While it’s rare that a broker will literally steal his client’s money (though that does happen), typically the “theft” of investment funds comes in the form of other fraudulent violations of securities law and FINRA rules which leads to significant investment losses.
Investors generally understand that there are risks associated with buying and selling securities. The market can go up, and the market can go down. No matter how skilled of an investor you are, there are always risks. With that being said, sometimes investment losses cannot be blamed on simple back luck.
There are 10 major types of complaints we receive against Investment Brokers –
- Outright Theft (Conversion of Funds)
- Unauthorized Trading
- Misrepresentation or Omission of Material Facts
- Excessive Trading (Churning)
- Lack of Diversification
- Unsuitable Investment Recommendations
- Failure to Disclose a Personal Conflict of Interest
- Front Running of Transactions
- Breakpoint Sale Violations
- Negligent Portfolio Management
Do your due diligence before investing. Public records are available for everybody to review and decide on the safest bet.
How to Protect Yourself
We, as citizens, place a great deal of trust in the financial advisors who are tasked with helping us achieve and maintain financial security. Most of the time financial advisors and stockbrokers are honest folks who work diligently in their client’s best interests. However, on occasion financial advisors and the brokerage firms who employ them mess up and cause serious financial harm to their clients. Sometimes these losses are caused by simple negligence. Other times fraud or other serious misconduct is to blame.
Here are 5 signs that your broker needs to be reported –
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty: Under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, certain investment professionals, known as registered investment advisors (RIAs), owe fiduciary obligations to their customers. Your investment broker must always look out for your best interests. If you lost money because of your broker’s breach of fiduciary duty, you may be entitled to compensation for the full value of your damages.
- Unsuitable Investments: Many financial advisors are not fiduciaries. Instead, they are held to the suitability standard. These stockbrokers and financial advisors can only sell and recommend financial products that are appropriate for a customer’s unique investment profile. If you lost money in unsuitable investments, you should consider reporting them.
- Material Misrepresentations or Omissions: Brokers have a duty to make fair and honest representations to their clients. If they fail to do so, and an investor loses money due to a misrepresentation or a material omission, the broker may be liable for the investor’s losses.
- Lack of Diversification: Brokers must also act with the appropriate level of professional skill. Pushing a customer into over-concentrated investments is highly risky. Brokers can be held liable for losses sustained because of an investor’s inappropriate lack of diversification.
- Excessive Trading (Churning): Stockbrokers and financial advisors must have a well-grounded, reasonable basis to execute all trades. Unfortunately, there are cases in which brokers will frequently trade on a customer’s account, simply to increase their own fees. This unlawful practice is known as churning.
- Unauthorized Trading: Brokers must have the proper legal authority to make transactions on behalf of a client. If you lost money because your broker made trades that you never approved of, you may have been the victim of unauthorized trading. You should consult with an experienced attorney.
Report Donald Smith
In order to prevail in an investment fraud lawsuit or FINRA arbitration cases, you must be able to assert a viable ‘cause of action’.
Donald Lee Smith – and the firm that employs this broker – is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA provides an online form to allow investors to file a formal complaint against their financial advisor, stockbroker, or brokerage firm.
Click here to go to FINRA’s Online Complaint Form →
This form will ask you for specific information related to your complaint. Be prepared by gathering the following:
- Name and symbol for the investment product in question.
- The CRD number (1134141) for the broker – Donald Lee Smith
- Your complete contact information.
Remember, it is advised to report your broker to FINRA, only after you have exhausted all of your other remedies and carefully prepared a compelling complaint. Once you file a complaint against your broker at FINRA, your case will be bound by FINRA’s rules and the arbitration panel’s eventual decision. The time clock will start, and your complaint will be served on your broker or broker-dealer.
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