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Adviser to rich and famous sued

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

The rich and famous are not immune to being ripped off financially, as the infamous Bernie Madoff $50 billion Ponzi scheme proved. That scandal swept in a roster of Hollywood who's who, including actors Kevin Bacon, Zsa Zsa Gabor and John Malkovich.

The newest broker to face music is Bambi Holzer of Beverly Hills, who settled a lawsuit brought in 2007 by her most famous client, actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Investment News disclosed that Holzer is now facing accusations of failing to disclose pending regulatory action and for lying about the net worth of several clients in order to get them in on a deal. She has recently been suspended and sued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, a self-regulatory firm that oversees brokers.

How to find the best financial advice

Most clients know to ask financial brokers or advisers how they are paid -- whether it's only through fees, or a combination of fees and commissions. Make sure you understand what the method of payment means in terms of objectivity and decide what's best for you.

Referrals from friends and family may be a factor in your decision, but be sure it's a trusted source. Don't go with the "in" crowd just because you think someone who has money knows more than you do. The Madoff scandal showed that being part of an exclusive club is no guarantee of financial safety.

Brokers and advisers usually are registered with either the SEC or FINRA, so check the websites to determine if there are any complaints. Investment News found that BrokerCheck, the FINRA site, revealed Holzer has 53 settled customer complaints, plus six more that were dismissed or denied and four others still pending.

Read more about how to rate your financial adviser.

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