"I had a broker for many years and after he retired I got another guy from the same company," Jeff says. "They kind of pass you on to the next guy. This new guy didn't do anything. He didn't call me, didn't make an appointment to see me—I finally went in to see him myself. When I saw him, I told him that I was getting married and wanted to retire in a year or so, so I wanted to change the strategy behind my investments.
"I had mutual funds and a couple of single-issue stocks. The dividends would all go back in for dividend reinvestment. I wanted something that would give me more income, not be reinvested and give me more cash. The broker said okay and suggested a few things [investments] but they were things I knew nothing about—I didn't understand what they were. I told him I wanted income, but I wanted it to be secure and stable. I told him I thought we should put flags on these issues to protect me on the downside [when the stocks fall] and with that, I left his office.
"When we went over my portfolio, I had told him a few issues I was not interested in selling because they are almost a 98 percent capital gain. It seemed like I should keep those issues forever and I can't sell because the taxes would be insane. He kind of dickered with me, but I told him I didn't want to sell Exxon because of that.
"Two to three days later, I got some sales things in the mail, and there was Exxon. I called the broker and asked why he was selling Exxon because I told him never to sell it. He said I could buy it back, but it was already sold and I have the tax consequences.
"I told him I was going to China and gave him my contact information. Then, September 30  came and the market started to fall almost immediately after that. He didn't call me—he didn't do anything. I got home and called him up and asked if he put any flags on those issues to sell them if they lost 10 percent. He said he didn't do that. I asked what he was doing and he said nothing. All he did was sell some things and buy some things, but he didn't notify me when they were dropping. To this day, he just acts stupid. I've probably lost $200,000.
"When you hire a professional like that and you put your money in his hands and he wipes it out in a month and doesn't do anything to protect your money or advise you, there's a problem. So I've started to look around. I haven't hired anybody but I don't know what to do. I don't know if this is something that you take someone to court over because everyone has been hit hard, but I'm not savvy at this stuff and I put my trust in him and he's done a terrible job.
"Stockbrokers always want to make a sale. Once you own it, they don't recommend the time to sell it. If things are going down, they don't call you up. That's my problem with the stockbrokers. That's it in a nutshell, in all my experience.
READ MORE STOCKBROKER ARBITRATION LEGAL NEWS
"I bought these things [investments] and held onto them. That was my strategy. I want to retire now; keep what I've got and have it pay me income but not lose it. There is no way I can understand what he purchased. They're not products I'm used to having. The only thing I understood was Exxon and investments that were tried and true, but he sold them and put them into junk. It doesn't seem that the brokers are out for you. It's very depressing and I'm getting married in 3 months. In a short time, I've lost more money that I make in ten years."