Oppenheimer & Co. Faces FINRA Arbitration Case Over Alleged Investment Fraud

On January 31, 2022, an Oppenheimer & Co. customer was awarded $1.4 million in compensatory damages for their losses in the Horizon Private Equity III fund. This case stemmed from the filing of FINRA arbitration case 22-00866, which investigated Oppenheimer & Co.’s sale of the Horizon Private Equity III fund.

What is Oppenheimer & Co.?

Oppenheimer & Co. is a full-service investment banking and wealth management firm that has been in business for over 140 years. The firm provides various financial services, including investment banking, equity research, institutional sales and trading, wealth management, and asset management.

What is Horizon Private Equity III Fund?

The Horizon Private Equity III fund was a private placement that was marketed and sold by Oppenheimer & Co. The fund was marketed to wealthy individuals, family offices, and institutional investors. According to investor complaints, when Oppenheimer investment professional Dennis Woods was with the firm between 2003 and 2016, he incubated the Horizon Private Equity scheme at Southport Capital.

Alleged Investment Fraud

Investors alleged that Oppenheimer & Co. actively aided Woods; his brother, James Wallace Woods; and their cousin, Michael J. Mooney, each an investment adviser at the firm, with funneling investor money into what the suit calls the Horizon Private Equity Ponzi scheme. Investors claim that the Woods family used investor money for their own personal expenses, including private jets, cars, and other luxury items.

Legal Actions Against Oppenheimer & Co.

The $1.4 million arbitration award is just one of several legal actions against Oppenheimer regarding allegations of investment fraud. In 2016, FINRA fined Oppenheimer $2.25 million and ordered the firm to pay restitution of $1.2 million to its mutual fund customers for supervisory failures related to the sale of non-traditional ETFs. In 2018, the SEC charged Oppenheimer with failing to properly supervise five registered representatives who caused customer accounts to engage in unsuitable and excessive trading in millions of dollars. In 2022, a group of 10 Oppenheimer investors was awarded over $36 million by FINRA arbitrators as compensation for their investment losses in Horizon Private Equity III.

Arbitration cases like those involving Horizon Private Equity III fund losses are becoming increasingly common in the financial industry. Investors who feel that they have been taken advantage of by their financial advisors are increasingly turning to FINRA arbitration to seek compensation for their losses.

The Importance of Due Diligence

Investors should always perform their due diligence before investing in any financial product. This includes researching the investment strategy, the track record of the investment manager, and the potential risks involved. It is also important to work with a financial advisor with a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their clients.


The Horizon Private Equity III fund case is just one example of the potential risks of investing in private placements. Investors should always perform their due diligence and work with a financial advisor with a fiduciary duty to act in their best interests. As the financial industry becomes increasingly complex, it is more important than ever to work with a trusted advisor who can help navigate the complexities of the investment world.

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