Have you placed your trust in a financial advisor or brokerage firm in the Boca Raton area only to see your hard earned investment dollars whittle away?
Sadly, too many people in the city have similar stories. From young investors and entrepreneurs to aging retirees, Boca Raton is home to a variety of investors with varying degrees of investment experience. Most investors are unsophisticated in the financial markets and rely on their financial advisors to make suitable and appropriate investment recommendations.
Unfortunately, financial advisors do not always exercise due diligence and care in servicing their clients. Whether due to their own lack of experience or because they have taken on too many clients to effectively service their accounts, financial advisors frequently drop the ball. Some even intentionally mislead or fail to disclose material facts to their clients in an effort to make more money from commissions and fees.
The laws and regulations that govern financial advisors and your investment accounts with brokerage firms are very clear: financial advisors and their employing brokerages must always put your financial interests before their own. No exceptions. Every time. Failure to do so may constitute negligence, a breach of fiduciary duty or worse…fraud.
Most financial advisors are financial experts. They are very good at hiding their misconduct, including fraud. In the wake of financial losses, it is not uncommon for financial advisors to counsel clients that their investments will “return in value” or that the decline is as a result of naturally occuring “market forces.”
If you or a loved one has experienced investment losses, we invite you to contact the Wolper Law Firm for a free consultation and tell us your story. We will give you a free and honest case assessment and discuss your options.
The Wolper Law Firm, PA is a law firm dedicated entirely to protecting the financial rights of individual and institutional investors in Boca Raton and throughout the United States. Matt Wolper spent 14 years representing the largest, most influential brokerage firms and banks in the world. Let us put that experience in your corner.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
In United States law, a fiduciary duty is a special obligation that one party owes to another.
It is only imposed in situations where a relationship between two parties is so vulnerable to abuse and so dependent on trust that the law must safeguard it. A classic example is a relationship in which one party is entrusted with caring for another’s money.
The relationship between a individual investor and their broker or financial advisor is one of these fiduciary relationships.
As an investor, you put all your trust in the advisor you hire. If they violate that trust, it could cost you everything.
Sadly, brokers do breach their fiduciary duty, sometimes out of negligence and sometimes in a deliberate attempt to perpetrate fraud (see the next section for more). In fact, breach of fiduciary duty is one of the most commonly litigated securities issues.
If you have lost money because your broker failed to put your interests first or otherwise violated your trust, you should contact a Boca Raton securities litigation attorney right away.
Stockbroker Fraud and Misrepresentation
Investment fraud is not uncommon in Boca Raton. It usually happens because a stockbroker is overly eager to close a deal or generate commissions. In the process, the broker ends up making a misrepresentation in order to induce your approval of their recommendation.
Not all cases of investment fraud involve elaborate schemes. Merely casting an investment in a false light — or simply failing to mention an important fact that could have impacted your decision to invest — may be enough to constitute securities fraud.
Fortunately, investors are protected from fraud by both Florida state and federal securities laws, which make it unlawful to misrepresent an investment opportunity.
Unfortunately, fraud still happens in spite of those laws. Victims, meanwhile, can lose their entire investment — and sometimes their entire fortune — because they acted on bad advice from someone they trusted.
If your broker or advisor has failed to fully advise you about the potential risks and costs of one of their recommended investments, or has otherwise handled your account dishonestly, please contact the Wolper Law Firm right away. An experienced Boca Raton securities litigation attorney in our office can help you fight to recover your losses.
Elder Investment Fraud & Financial Abuse in Boca Raton
Elder financial abuse is a real concern across the entire country, but it is especially pressing in communities like Boca Raton, where we have a large population of aging investors.
The elderly are more susceptible to investment fraud for several reasons:
- Many seniors experience a decline in cognitive abilities as they age.
- Mental health problems affecting the elderly are on the rise (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, dementia).
- Seniors who are lonely can be more easily swindled by a broker who positions himself as a “friend.”
- Aging investors typically have a harder time monitoring their monthly account statements and transactions closely.
- Seniors are sometimes less inclined to discuss their finances with their children or grandchildren, which means there may not be anyone looking out for them aside from the broker.
- The fact that many elderly investors have amassed small private fortunes makes them more attractive targets for dishonest brokers and advisors.
While it might be hard to believe that a respected financial professional would take advantage of you or someone you love, the reality is that elder investment fraud does happen in Boca Raton, and it is more common than you might think.
We urge you to contact our office at the first sign that something is amiss in your or your family member’s investment account.
The whole point of hiring an investment advisor is to get expert guidance to plan for a successful financial future and retirement.
It is therefore incumbent on advisors that they devote adequate time, consideration, and research to every recommendation before they make it.
When brokers recommend opportunities for strategies that don’t make sound financial sense for you as an individual investor, it is called an unsuitable investment. Brokers and advisors have a duty to recommend only suitable investments. Failure to do so subjects them to liability for your losses.
Generally speaking, it is not enough for an investment to be suitable for most people. It must be suitable for you, considering your investment profile and financial situation as a whole.
If you’ve lost money because of unsuitable investments, a Boca Raton securities litigation lawyer at the Wolper Law Firm can help.
Churning is the act of making an excessive number of trades or transactions in an investor’s account, usually for the purpose of netting more commissions and fees for the broker.
Churning is illegal. It constitutes a violation of the SEC rules, federal securities law, and the Investment Adviser Code of Ethics.
Brokers who churn their clients’ accounts intentionally are usually very good at what they do. It may be easy for them to couch their excessive transactions in seemingly legitimate financial goals, but the end result is typically the same: you pay much more in commissions with little to zero financial gain to show for it.
Part of our job as a Boca Raton securities fraud lawyer is to spot churning even when it’s hard to find. We are well versed in the tricks of the trade, and we know how to hold deceitful investment advisors accountable for churning.
If you suspect an excessive number of transactions in your investment account, please contact our office right away.
Lack of Diversification
We have all heard it said that one should not put all of one’s eggs in one basket. This timeless principle is bedrock to investment advising. Indeed, experienced brokers know they have a duty to diversify their client’s portfolios.
Diversification is important because markets are so hard to predict. By limiting the size of your investment in any one industry, asset, market, or geographic area, you are also limiting your exposure to risk should something go wrong in that industry, market, etc.
If your broker has failed to protect your investments by concentrating them in one area, you may be able to bring a lack of diversification claim and recover the losses you would not have sustained had your account been properly diversified.
What Other Securities Litigation Issues Do You Handle?
While this page has provided an overview of some of the most common issues in Boca Raton securities litigation, our firm also handles many other securities-related issues, including:
- Margin trading
- Failure to supervise
- Ponzi schemes
- Broker theft
- Selling away
- Labor and employment disputes
- Stock and bond losses
- Energy sector concentration
- Variable annuities
- Junk bonds
- High yield bonds
- Structured products
- Private placements
- Private equity
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT)
- Any other issue related to securities and investment litigation
Representation for Securities Arbitration in Boca Raton
While most securities disputes are resolved through a confidential settlement, some claims are resolved through a dispute resolution process known as securities arbitration.
Arbitration resembles a courtroom trial in many ways, but a different set of rules and procedures apply. Instead of an actual judge or jury, impartial arbitrators act as both a judge and jury in deciding the outcoming of the dispute.
There is a lot to know about securities arbitration. Because so many investment-related disputes do end up in arbitration, we believe it is a good idea to hire an attorney who has deep experience both in arbitration and at trial.
At the Wolper Law Firm, we offer many years of experience both in securities arbitration and at trial.
The Wolper Law Firm Also Represents Honest Financial Advisors In Boca Raton In Regulatory, Employment And Compliance Matters
The Wolper Law Firm understands that many Financial Advisors in Boca Raton are honest, thoughtful and diligent students of the financial markets. Many Financial Advisors provide comprehensive guidance to their customers and are “value added.” Notwithstanding their efforts, Financial Advisors may still find themselves with regulatory or compliance problems.
The financial markets are cyclical and go through periods of appreciation followed by periods of decline. If a Financial Advisor correctly allocates his or her client’s portfolio, it should be protected against significant fluctuations in value. However, a client may still file a customer complaint against the Financial Advisor, which remains on their CRD unless and until is expunged through a formal expungement proceeding filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The Wolper Law Firm can help Boca Raton Financial Advisors navigate these complex issues when they arise and even assist in the expungement of unwarranted complaints from their Form U-4 disclosure documents maintained with the Central Registration Depository, or CRD. Matt Wolper has handled expungements for Financial Advisors all over the country.
Separately, when a Boca Raton Financial Advisor becomes at odds with his or her employing brokerage firm, it is necessary that an attorney is consulted and retained. This often occurs when the brokerage firm eliminates a line of business that is crucial to the Financial Advisors’ financial well-being. It also occurs when the brokerage firm makes promises to Financial Advisors in order to lure them from competitors. These promises can include money, assistants, or access to certain trading desks and products. If the brokerage firm retracts its promises, and leaves the Financial Advisor in an untenable position, counseling with a securities attorney at an early stage is critical. This conduct by the employing brokerage firm may constitute a violation of the employment laws, including anti-discrimination statutes, and wage and hour statutes. It may also rise to the level of constructive discharge or wrongful termination.
The Wolper Law Firm can help counsel Financial Advisors regarding disputes with their employing brokerage firm and, if necessary, litigate your employment case through the trial phase. If you are a Financial Advisor in Boca Raton, and you have regulatory, compliance or employment issues or disputes, contact the Wolper Law Firm for a free consultation and case assessment.
Free Consultation with a Boca Raton Securities Litigation & Arbitration Lawyer
If you or your loved one has suffered investment losses in Boca Raton or the surrounding area, and you believe a stockbroker or financial advisor is to blame, please contact the Wolper Law Firm as soon as possible.
Call 800.931.8452 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.