Lawrence: Is There Something Suspicious?
If you’re looking for financial advisors in Greenwich, Connecticut, you might come across the name of Lawrence Haertel UBS. He has several decades of industry experience but he is using it to take advantage of gullible investors.
There are many problematic provisions in his disclosures that you must know about before you consider working with the guy. The following review will help you understand them:
About Lawrence Haertel UBS
Lawrence is Managing Director – Wealth Management at his firm. He offers his services to multigenerational families, trusts, individuals, and non-profit organizations. Lawrence claims to help his clients develop individually tailored investment strategies by developing the necessary plans.
:He has plenty of accolades and achievements under his belt. But he is using them to distract gullible investors from the details that matter.
For example, his firm has incentive for ignoring your unique financial goals and requirements when they offer you services. Most clients won’t even find out about these provisions until it’s too late.
The next section of my review will help you understand the subtle and shady provisions present in the disclosures of Lawrence Haertel UBS.
Problematic Provisions and Legal Disputes of Lawrence Haertel UBS
Dispute for Giving Unsuitable Recommendations
When you’re looking for new financial advisors, you should verify the most attractive options on the FINRA BrokerCheck database. There, you can learn about a lot of things such as an advisor’s state licenses, the years of experience they have, and most importantly, their disputes.
According to his FINRA BrokerCheck listing, Lawrence Haertel UBS had a significant dispute with one of his clients in 2000. The client alleged that several of his investments were unsuitable for his age and needed to preserve capital. He particularly highlighted his loss in CRIIMI HAE but they didn’t request any damages.
Did You Know?
CRIIMI HAE (Canada Real Estate Investment Trust) is a public trade firm. It owns and operates a portfolio of multifamily properties, and claims of providing quality residence.
Lawrence settled the case for $4,000 and claimed that the client had earned substantial dividends from the investments. He also added that he settled the case only to avoid the litigation costs.
Financial advisors rarely face a legal dispute and Lawrence has faced one for giving unsuitable recommendations. This shows that he has a history of giving poor financial advice to his clients.
There are many reasons why an advisor would give unsuitable recommendations to his clients, some of them are present in the disclosures of Lawrence himself, which I have highlighted below:
Charging 12b-1 Fees
One of the biggest reasons why you should avoid Lawrence Haertel UBS is that he offers investments that charge the 12b-1 fees. The 12b-1 fee adds no value to an investment and only increases the cost of the investment.
This is an incentive fee for advisors to promote certain investments and sell them to investors. There are many drawbacks to the 12b-1 fee which make it a nightmare for any modern investor.
For starters, it’s a percentage fee. So, the amount you’ll pay will depend on the size of your portfolio. If you have a significant portfolio, you’ll be paying a hefty amount in the name of the 12b-1 fee.
Also, the ROI of the investments that charge this fee is worse than the investments that don’t charge this fee. The SEC had conducted a study to compare the returns of the investments that charge the 12b-1 fees and those that don’t. They found no difference in the returns of the two.
However, because this fee goes straight into the advisors’ pockets, they promote it heavily.
The 12b-1 fee also gives the financial advisors an opportunity to charge hidden fees. It’s a variable fee and it adds up over the years.
Due to these reasons, it’s particularly damaging to large portfolios and portfolios that want to secure long-term growth. When you pay the 12b-1 fee, you’re practically paying a hefty amount for receiving no benefits whatsoever.
Lawrence is registered as both a financial advisor and a broker. This is a huge red flag because a financial advisor must place his clients’ interests ahead of his own. But when he is dual-registered as a broker, it exposes his clients to various conflicts of interest.
They include receiving asset-based fees and transaction-based commission on the same investment, revenue sharing from mutual funds, and giving preferential treatment to affiliated mutual funds. While regulators keep a close eye on dual-registered advisors, they can’t practically check every minor detail.
Such advisors charge their retail clients higher fees than their brokerage clients. Also, they prioritize institutional share classes of the same underperforming mutual funds they recommend to their brokerage clients.
Research shows that advisors who are dual-registered as brokers fail to meet the fiduciary standard.
When you work with a dual-registered advisor like Lawrence Haertel UBS, you get biased advice and recommendations that are based on how much commissions they generate for Lawrence. In reality, the recommendations should be according to their alignment with your financial goals and requirements.
Earning commissions from mutual funds encourages advisors to ignore their clients’ goals.
Hence, you should stay miles away from such advisors.
Clearly, there are many red flags in Lawrence Haertel UBS. If you’re a client of Mr. Haertel, you should be extremely cautious of the recommendations you get.
It would be best if you reviewed your investments to see which ones among them are generating commissions for him. This will give you an idea of how much honest advice Lawrence has given you so far.
Lawrence Haertel UBS is an unreliable and shady financial advisor who you can’t trust. Evidence suggests that he fails to meet the fiduciary standard and he benefits from charging hidden fees.
- History of legal disputes with clients
- Charges 12b-1 fees
- Broker-dealer conflict