An Orlando, Fla. man’s business providing financial and investment advice reaped more than $500,000 in revenue over five years, according to the SEC.
The only problem: He allegedly wasn’t an advisor at all, and he never told his clients.
Arthur F. Jacob, 56, owner of Innovative Business Solutions (IBS), an unregistered investment advisor with around 30 client accounts and about $18 million in assets under management, was charged in an administrative proceeding by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly lying to his clients.
The SEC has implemented a cease-and-desist order barring IBS and Jacob from any future fraud and will seek disgorgement, interest and unspecified civil penalties.
From mid-2009 through at least July 2014, the SEC alleges, Jacob and IBS engaged in fraudulent schemes involving misrepresentations, omissions and other deceptive practices used to obtain and retain clients and thereby collect advisory fees, including failing to register as an advisor with the SEC or any of the states they operated in.
Jacob and IBS allegedly misstated the risks and profitability of investments to clients in person and in newsletters. According to the SEC’s complaint, Jacob purchased single-inverse, options-based ETFs for speculation while telling his clients it was as a hedge against downside risk. Instead of selling the positions after one trading session, as is customary, Jacob allegedly had his clients hold onto the single-inverse ETFs for years, incurring nearly 50 percent losses for some clients when he finally sold the positions in 2013.
According to the SEC’s complaint, Jacob told one client that the client's accounts were generating gains between 16 percent and 28 percent, when in reality the client had unrealized losses of over $49,000 across two accounts that held around $308,000 in assets.
The SEC also claims that Jacob provided false information about the services he and IBS provided in order to retain trading authority in clients’ accounts.
According to the SEC, Jacob failed to tell clients of his 2003 disbarment by Maryland for misappropriating client funds, making false statements under oath, filing false tax returns on behalf of a client and charging unreasonable fees, and also did not reveal that in 2005 he was suspended from practicing or appearing before the Internal Revenue Service in the same case.
Jacob allegedly told clients he and IBS were not required to register as investment advisors.