Securities litigation and arbitration are complex areas of the law, with many different issues and legal claims that can arise in connection with a single private investor’s account. Below, we highlight just a few of the most common issues we handle at our law firm.
In investment law, the word “fraud” can include many types of unlawful conduct, almost all of it centered around a broker or advisor’s failure to adequately inform their clients. As a private investor, you were entitled to learn every material fact about your advisor’s recommended investment opportunity — the benefits, the risks, the true costs (including commissions and fees), any conflicts of interest, and so on. Any misrepresentation or omission could qualify as investment fraud. Both state and federal law protects victims of investment fraud.
Learn more about investment fraud.
Stockbroker Fraud and Brokerage Fraud
If your stockbroker’s misconduct cost you significant money in your investment portfolio, you may be able to hold the broker or the brokerage firm they work for accountable. It isn’t always easy to identify whether stockbroker fraud and/or brokerage fraud is occurring, but if you are steadily losing money in your portfolio and you have noticed unauthorized transactions in your accounts, an overall decline in the value of your account, an influx of trade confirmations or other suspicious activities, you may be a victim of fraud or negligence by a broker and/or brokerage firm.
Learn more about stockbroker fraud.
Learn more about brokerage fraud.
Your registered stockbroker is legally obligated to make investment recommendations and decisions that are in your best interests, meaning the investments are in line with your risk tolerance and your goals. This is known as the duty of fair dealing. When your broker breaches this duty and you suffer significant investment losses, you can seek repayment through FINRA arbitration. Unauthorized trading, failing to diversify your investment portfolio and acting negligently are a few ways that brokers fail in their duty and cost investors money.
Learn more about investment losses.
The securities industry is highly complex, which works in the favor of dishonest brokers seeking to commit fraud against investors. Investors may not realize until it is too late that they have lost money in their accounts due to securities fraud. There are a wide variety of schemes that dishonest brokers and financial advisors may employ in order to make money for themselves. Fraudulent schemes include churning, which is excessive trading in order to generate commissions, embezzlement, misrepresenting investment risk and more. Brokers who commit fraud, as well as the firms that employ them, may be liable when investors lose money.
Learn more about securities fraud.
FINRA Lawsuits and FINRA Arbitration
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is responsible for overseeing the conduct of stockbrokers, brokerage houses and financial advisors. When investors lose significant money to fraud or negligence committed by these investment professionals, they can pursue recovery of their money through FINRA arbitration. The process involves neutral arbitrators reviewing evidence and hearing arguments from both sides and deciding the outcome. Investment disputes that come to FINRA are settled through arbitration or mediation. Some investors may have the option of filing a lawsuit through the courts rather than going to arbitration, although many firms bind investors to arbitration.
Learn more about FINRA lawsuits.
Learn more about FINRA arbitration.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
In the securities industry, stockbrokers and financial advisors are given the absolute highest legal standard of care. It’s called a fiduciary duty, and it means the broker must act responsibly with your money, put your best interests first, and handle your account and portfolio in good faith. Sadly, advisors breach their fiduciary duty all the time — and it happens in many different ways. If an advisor or brokerage firm breached their duties in your case, they may be responsible for paying back all the financial harm they caused.
Learn more about breach of fiduciary duty.
Included in a financial advisor’s fiduciary duty is the requirement that he or she recommend only investments that are suitable for you. To determine whether an opportunity is suitable, they must perform due diligence, giving full consideration to the investment’s potential risks and to you and your account as a whole. When advisors make unsuitable investments, it is grounds for legal action. Most risky investments are considered unsuitable investments. A securities fraud attorney in our office can help you determine whether you might have an unsuitable investment claim.
Learn more about unsuitable investments.
About Our Securities Litigation & Arbitration Law Firm
The Wolper Law Firm, PA represents investors who have suffered financial losses in investments due to the misconduct or poor advice of their brokerage firms, financial advisors, and/or other financial professionals. Our attorneys are well prepared to handle claims relating to stocks, bonds, alternative investments, options, margin, securities based lending, mutual funds, structured products, failure to hedge, concentrated positions, and more. Investors with legal questions are encouraged to call our office or schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.