Rutland investor fined, suspended for bad advice
By Brent Curtis
staff writer | March 07,2014
A Rutland securities broker has lost his license and been fined $97,000 by the state for advising some of his clients to make overly risky investments and then manipulating financial records to mislead his supervisors.
George J. Lincoln IV of Shrewsbury worked as a registered broker-dealer at the CCO Investment Services Corp. office in Rutland from 2005 to December 2013 serving on average between 900 to 1,400 clients a year, according to a stipulation and consent order filed by the state Department of Financial Regulation.
Following a complaint received in 2011, the state agency conducted an investigation that determined Lincoln had advised some of his clients to make investments that were too fraught with risk given their financial and personal profiles.
“The clients either had a limited amount of money to spend or limited investments,” said Dale Schaft, a spokeswoman for DFR.
The state’s order, entered late last month, indicated Lincoln had “omitted or contradicted” information sent to his superiors about at least 12 of his clients.
The information he altered wasn’t targeted to a specific age, gender or financial profile, according to the report.
The omission and alterations “failed to indicate accurately ... the number of dependents of the client, retirement status of the client, risk tolerance, net worth, property holdings, investment-time horizon and investment knowledge of the client,” according to the report.
How many investors received bad advice and the adverse financial consequences of that advice is unclear. Schaft said she didn’t have figures about affected investors, although she said not all of those who followed Lincoln’s high-risk recommendations came to ruin. She said she believed that most of the investors were Vermonters.
Schaft said CCO reimbursed investors who experienced losses and she said the company paid $175,000 to Vermont for failing to adequately supervise Lincoln.
“CCO has taken corrective actions to protect Vermonters from being placed into speculative investments that are out of line with their investment objectives,” DFR Commissioner Susan Donegan said. “Protecting Vermont consumers is the department’s No. 1 priority.”
A CCO spokeswoman reached Thursday said the company had no comment on the case.
Lincoln’s license to sell securities in Vermont is suspended for 10 months, according to the state’s order. At the end of the suspension, Lincoln can reapply for his license.