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Cetera Advisor Stephen Lawler: Complaint Settles for $425K
Peoria, Illinois financial advisor Stephen Lawler (CRD# 1193477) has received multiple investor complaints alleging he recommended unsuitable investments. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show that he is a broker and an investment advisor with Cetera Advisors and Cetera Investment Advisors, respectively, having previously been registered with First Allied Securities.
Mr. Lawler’s BrokerCheck report discloses several investor complaints. The most recent, filed in July 2023, alleges that as a representative of Investacorp, he recommended unsuitable products. The pending complaint alleges unspecified damages.
A second investor complaint, filed in 2022, alleged that as a First Allied Securities representative, he recommended unsuitable investments, over-concentrated securities, made misrepresentations of material facts, and breached his fiduciary duty. In May 2023 the complaint reached a settlement of $425,000.
A third investor complaint, filed in 2021, alleges that as a representative of First Allied Securities, he recommended unsuitable real estate investment trusts (REITs). The pending complaint alleges damages of $100,000. In a statement included with the complaint’s disclosure, Mr. Lawler defended himself against the allegations. “The investments recommended to these clients performed well, and nearly all the investments netted the clients a positive return,” he wrote, continuing: “It is unfortunate the clients have decided to cherry-pick the only investment which did not perform as expected, in disregard of the substantial net profits the clients enjoyed from the investments purchased upon my recommendation.” He proceeded to describe his recommendations as “suitable” and asserted that the clients “were fully aware of the risks and the investment that has not performed well constituted a very small percentage of their portfolio.”
A fourth investor complaint, filed in 2021, alleges that he recommended unsuitable investments, breached his fiduciary duty, over-concentrated investments in the account, misrepresented material facts, breached contract, and acted negligently while he was an Investacorp representative. The pending complaint alleges unspecified damages. “The statement of claim is against my former broker-dealer,” he wrote in a comment included with the complaint’s disclosure, “and I expressly deny the allegations in the complaint.”
A fifth investor complaint, filed in 2020, alleged that he recommended unsuitable REITs while a representative of Investacorp. The complaint reached a settlement of $7,500.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Stephen Lawler holds 39 years of securities industry experience. Based in Peoria, Illinois, he has been a broker with Cetera Advisors since 2022 and an investment advisor with Cetera Investment Advisers since 2020. His past registrations include First Allied Securities, Investacorp, Integrated Resources Equity Corporation, FSC Securities Corporation, and Home Life Equity Sales Corporation. His credentials include the passage of seven securities industry qualifying exams. He currently holds 15 state licenses. (Information current as of August 20, 2023.)
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