Ambassador Advisors Lawsuit: What You Need to Know

Have you heard about the Ambassador Advisors lawsuit? It’s a complex case that involves allegations of financial misconduct by an investment advisory firm and its executives. Let’s dive into the details and understand what transpired.

The Allegations:

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Ambassador Advisors, LLC, alleging that the firm and its principals, Bernard Bostwick, Robert Kauffman, and Adrian Young, engaged in several misleading and fraudulent practices. These practices included:

Failing to disclose conflicts of interest: The lawsuit alleges that Ambassador Advisors, Bostwick, Kauffman, and Young failed to properly disclose to clients that they received 12b-1 fees from mutual funds. These fees are used to compensate investment advisors for marketing and distribution expenses. However, the lawsuit alleges that the firm recommended mutual fund share classes that charged higher 12b-1 fees, even though lower-cost share classes of the same funds were available.
Breaching fiduciary duties: The SEC also alleges that Ambassador Advisors and its executives breached their fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their clients. By recommending mutual funds that charged higher fees, the firm allegedly put its own financial interests ahead of those of its clients.

The Verdict:

In September 2022, a federal court ruled in favor of the SEC. The court found that Ambassador Advisors, Bostwick, Kauffman, and Young violated the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The firm was ordered to pay a $622,642 civil penalty, and Bostwick, Kauffman, and Young were ordered to disgorge $136,627 each, along with paying prejudgment interest and civil penalties.

What This Means for Investors:

The Ambassador Advisors lawsuit serves as a reminder of the importance of choosing trustworthy and ethical financial advisors. It’s crucial for investors to:

Do their due diligence: Research any investment advisor before entrusting them with your finances.
Ask questions: Don’t be afraid to ask your financial advisor about their fees, their investment philosophy, and any potential conflicts of interest.
Be aware of your rights: As an investor, you have certain rights, such as the right to receive clear and accurate information about your investments.


The Ambassador Advisors lawsuit is a reminder that investors need to be vigilant when it comes to their finances. By choosing reputable financial advisors and doing their due diligence, investors can protect themselves from potential harm.


1. What are 12b-1 fees?

12b-1 fees are marketing and distribution fees charged by some mutual funds. These fees are typically used to pay for the costs of advertising, marketing, and selling the fund. 12b-1 fees can add up over time, so it’s important to be aware of them before investing in a mutual fund.

2. What is the Investment Advisers Act of 1940?

The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 is a federal law that regulates the investment advisory industry. The Act requires investment advisers to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to comply with certain standards of conduct. The Act is intended to protect investors from fraud and other forms of misconduct.

3. How can I check if my financial advisor is registered?

You can check if your financial advisor is registered by searching the Investment Adviser Public Depository (IAPD) on the SEC’s website. The IAPD contains information about all investment advisers who are registered with the SEC.

4. What are the red flags of a dishonest financial advisor?

There are several red flags that may indicate that a financial advisor is dishonest. These include:

Unrealistic promises: If an advisor promises guaranteed returns or claims they can beat the market consistently, it’s a red flag.
High-pressure sales tactics: A reputable advisor will take the time to understand your needs and goals before recommending any investments. They will not pressure you to make a decision on the spot.
Lack of transparency: A dishonest advisor may be vague about fees, commissions, or potential conflicts of interest.
Unethical behavior: An advisor who has been disciplined or barred by the SEC is likely a risk.
Lack of qualifications: A legitimate advisor will hold the appropriate licenses and certifications.

5. What should I do if I suspect my financial advisor has acted improperly?

If you suspect your financial advisor has acted improperly, you should contact the SEC or your state securities regulator. You can also file a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

6. How can I file a complaint against a financial advisor?

You can file a complaint against a financial advisor by contacting the SEC or your state securities regulator. You can also file a complaint with FINRA.


SEC Investor Bulletin: 12b-1 Fees
SEC Litigation Release: 24817
SEC Litigation Release: 25501

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Please consult with a qualified financial professional before making any investment decisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *