Brandon Preston Long of Alpharetta, Georgia, a stockbroker formerly registered with LPL Financial LLC, has been barred by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from associating with any broker or investment adviser according to an SEC Order containing findings that Long misled investors in the course of selling annuity products. In the Matter of Brandon P. Long, Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-18254 (Oct. 16, 2017).

The Order stated that Long made misleading statements to investors, causing them to conclude that Long, as well as the investments that he recommended to investors, had somehow been associated or approved by a Thrift Savings Plan or otherwise authorized by the federal government. Long reportedly failed to inform investors about the excessive surrender penalties and fees that investors would be exposed to with annuity investments. Evidently, Long also created accounts without obtaining permission from customers in order to effect the annuity purchases.

The Complaint leading to the SEC Order stated that from March of 2012 to November of 2014, three representatives and Long collectively induced employees of the federal government to rollover their money from their Thrift Savings Plan into annuities offered through Keystone Capital Partners, Inc., which did business under the name of Federal Employee Benefits Counselors. Apparently, the three representatives and Long induced the customers to invest in variable annuities so Long and his colleagues could make high commission payments, and sold products that bore no affiliation to the federal government or the Thrift Savings Plan despite misleading investors to assume the contrary.

Long purportedly compared the Thrift Savings Plan payouts to products that were offered through Long, falsely representing expenses and surrender penalties in the process. Long apparently utilized an insignia that resembled a federal government agency seal, and omitted from investors that he and his colleagues were associated with brokerage firms rather than a government agency. An estimated $40,000,000.00 in annuities had been sold to the employees as a result of Long’s scheme, allowing Long and the registered representatives to accumulate commissions estimated at $1,700,000.00.

Long consented to a judgment which enjoined him from committing future violations of Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 Section 10(b), SEC Rule 10b-5, as well as Securities Act of 1933 Section 17(a) and SEC Rule 17a-4(b)(4). Securities and Exchange Commission v. Keystone Capital Partners, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 1:17-CV-02873 (N.D. Ga. Oct. 5, 2017).

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Public Disclosure reveals that on August 10, 2017, a customer pursued an investment related arbitration complaint involving Long’s wrongdoing, alleging that he failed to inform the customer about fees, and omitted information about the way in which guaranteed payouts of a variable annuity would be calculated. Then, on August 15, 2017, another customer complaint was filed that pertained to Long’s improper conduct, where the customer alleged to have never been made aware of the impact withdrawals would have on the annuity’s lifetime income stream.

Long was fired from LPL Financial on December 2, 2014, based upon allegations of the firm’s concerns stemming from Long’s customer communications. Long was later employed with BCG Securities, Inc. between December 9, 2014, and April 3, 2017.

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