Syndicated financial talker Ray Lucia has been ordered to pay $50,000 for giving investors misleading info about his “Buckets of Money” wealth-management strategy. The judge also ordered Lucia’s San Diego-based firm, Raymond J. Lucia Companies Inc., to pay $250,000 and revoked its investment adviser registration.
Last September, the SEC accused the San Diego-based host of misleading investors to think that his strategy helps retirees “generate inflation-adjusted income for life.”
Lucia aired on Business Talk Radio Network, but it currently on the Global American Broadcasting Network. He was a Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Advisor.
Lucia promoted his fee-based investment program at seminars held at resorts throughout the country. Some of those seminars are co-hosted by financial columnist and actor Ben Stein, who has called Lucia “the best wealth manager I know.”
Regulators accused Lucia of falsely claiming that his investment plan had been thoroughly tested and would help retirees safely generate income for decades, without jeopardizing a nest egg that could be left to their children. He advises listeners to divide retirement funds into three buckets: cash, safe investments and risky investments.
But the SEC said Lucia and his company, Raymond J. Lucia Cos., “performed scant, if any, actual back-testing of the Buckets of Money strategy.”
Lucia is reviewing the opinion in the case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and may appeal, Wrenn Chais, his attorney at Locke Lorde LLP in LA told Businessweek.
“While we respect the commission and its regulatory processes, we respectfully disagree with the majority of the findings of the opinion and the penalties assessed,” Wrenn said.
“Judge Elliot’s initial decision vindicates the Division of Enforcement’s original position that Lucia and RJLC misled the investors who attended their seminars by claiming that the Buckets of Money strategy had been successfully backtested when in fact it had not been,” Michele Wein Layne, head of the SEC’s Los Angeles office, said in a statement.