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One of the Most Experienced

Investment Fraud, Securities Defense, and FINRA Arbitration Attorneys Nationwide

Attorney Pearce has over decades of first-hand experience with investment disputes in Florida, nationwide, and internationally. We are one of the most experienced FINRA Securities Arbitration Law Firms nationwide and have recovered more than $160 Million on behalf of our clients.

With over 40 Years of Personal Experience

$21,000,000 Final Judgment for Civil Theft
$8,500,000 Stockbroker Bond Fraud Settlement
$8,200,000 Stockbroker Margin Account Liquidation Settlement
$7,800,000 Stockbroker Option Fraud Settlement
$6,000,000 Stockbroker Bond & Bond Fund Fraud Settlement
$5,800,000 Arbitration Award for Stockbroker Fraud
$5,500,000 FINRA Arbitration Settlement
$4,300,000 Federal Court Class Action Settlement
$3,500,000 Florida State Court Settlement
$3,350,000 FINRA Arbitration Settlement
$3,200,000 FINRA Arbitration Award
$2,750,000 FINRA Arbitration Award

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A., represents clients on all sides of securities, commodities and investment fraud and other issues in a broad range of practice areas in courtroom litigation, arbitration, SEC defense, and mediation proceedings. Based out of offices in Boca Raton, Florida, stockbroker fraud attorney Robert Wayne Pearce and his team have handled hundreds of FINRA, AAA and JAMs securities arbitration and mediation cases for satisfied clients located not only in Florida but nationwide and throughout the world.

OVER $160 MILLION RECOVERED FOR CLIENTS Contact Our Lawyers for Nationwide Help

We help Investors, Advisors, StockBrokers, and provide Regulatory Defense

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Meet Our Team

Some attorneys just work to live: we work -- for justice!

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has represented investors across the globe and throughout the United States. Our attorneys have recovered over $160 million for his investor clients in all types of stockbroker fraud and stockbroker misconduct cases.

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Tamara Griffin

Florida Registered Paralegal Working with our firm since 2011
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Monica Duncan

Legal Assistant Working with our firm since 1996
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Diana Cooper

Bookkeeper Mr. Pearce's Bookkeeper since 1996

Hear From Our Clients

At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we believe the ultimate barometer of our success is surpassing the expectation of our clients.

The following clients have direct knowledge of our firm's processes from the inside and experienced our fierce advocacy.

Hear From Our Clients

  • “Robert Pearce is part of that unusual breed of lawyers that are able to create empathy with clients and thoroughly adopt their cause”

    No half efforts here. He and his group of professionals are outstanding strategists that can execute with precise fervor and unyielding determination. Theirs is a huge wave of facts, research, precedents and preparation, that has impressed me in its thoroughness and creativity, and most importantly with the results. No stone goes unturned and no effort is ever spared. In my book, he and they are those of a very rare kind that one wants to keep for a very long time.

    - Ramon Flores-Esteves -
  • “Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side.”

    Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side. He is the consumate plaintiff's lawyer: smart. dedicated, fully able to try a case but a great negotiator in a mediation. He did a wonderful job for us, fully supporting us through the process and more than holding his own against a large national law firm.

    - Maurice Z. -
  • "Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations."

    Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations. We were able to reach a settlement that was of our complete satisfaction, all within a very smooth, professional and efficient process. Mr. Pearce is now not only our lawyer but our family friend. We highly recommend him and his team!

    - Severiano L. -
  • "For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner."

    This law firm is the real deal. We were so lucky that they took our case as they have so much experience in securities and all the wrongdoing that happens in these investment companies where they mislead you and your money (as in our case) into schemes that are not what you think they are. Mr. Robert Pearce is one of the best lawyers around, a truly professional who will fight for you and will tell you as it is all the time. We could not have gone thru this experience if it was not for all the advice, guidance and support he and all of his staff and associates brought to the game. For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner.

    - Astrid M. -
  • "He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times."

    Attorney Robert Pearce was our lawyer in a case against a Brokerage Firm and I'm witness to his ability and intelligence to deal with lawyers from the most prominent law firm in New York which was the key to recovering much of our losses cheered by their negligence. He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times.

    - Jose A. C. -
  • "In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars."

    No lawyer except Bob said I had a chance of winning. When UBS Lawyers laughingly offered me zero to settle the dispute, Bob became even more determined to prove everybody wrong. Bob was extremely prepared, and always a step ahead of the opposing attorneys throughout the arbitration. In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars.

    - J. Blanco -
  • "Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way."

    Robert's team is excellent. They are very competitive in what they do and they are very responsible. Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way. Their professionalism, responsibility and empathy assured us that we were in good hands. Recommend to everyone.

    - Mayra A. -

Cases & Investigations

J.P. Morgan Sued For Edward Turley’s Alleged Misconduct: $55 Million!

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has filed another case against Ex-J.P. Morgan broker Ed Turley for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has filed another case against J.P. Morgan Securities for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts continuing in fall 2019 and thereafter by Edward Turley (“Turley”), a former “Vice-Chairman” of J.P. Morgan. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan and Mr. Turley and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Latest Updates on Ed Turley – November 18, 2022 The Advisor Hub reported today that the former star broker with J.P. Morgan Advisors in San Francisco Edward Turley agreed to an industry bar rather than cooperate with FINRA’s probe of numerous allegations of excessive and unauthorized trading that resulted in more than $100 million worth of customer complaints. FINRA had initiated its investigation of Edward Turley as it related to numerous customer complaints in 2020. The regulator noted in its Acceptance Waiver and Consent Agreement (AWC) that the investors had generally alleged “sales practice violations including improper exercise of discretion and unsuitable trading.” According to Edward Turley’s BrokerCheck report, he had been fired in August 2021 for “loss of confidence concerning adherence to firm policies and brokerage order handling requirements.” On October 28th, FINRA requested Turley provide on-the-record testimony related to his trading patterns, including the “use of foreign currency and margin, and the purchasing and selling of high-yield bonds and preferred stock,” but Edward Turley through counsel declined to do so. As a result, Edward Turley violated FINRA’s Rule 8210 requiring cooperation with enforcement probes, and its catch-all Rule 2010 requiring “high standards of commercial honor,” the regulator said and he was barred permanently from the securities industry. Related Read: Can You Sue a Financial Advisor or Stockbroker Over Losses? Turley Allegedly Misrepresented And Misled Claimants About His Investment Strategy The claims arise out of Turley’s “one-size-fits-all” fixed income credit spread investment strategy involving high-yield “junk” bonds, preferred stocks, exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), and foreign bonds. Instead of purchasing those securities in ordinary margin accounts, Turley executed foreign currency transactions to raise capital and leverage clients’ accounts to earn undisclosed commissions. Turley over-leveraged and over-concentrated his best and biggest clients’ accounts, including Claimants’ accounts, in junk bonds, preferred stocks, and MLPs in the financial and energy sectors, which are notoriously illiquid and subject to sharp price declines when the financial markets become stressed as they did in March 2020. In the beginning and throughout the investment advisory relationship, Turley described his investment strategy to Claimants as one which would generate “equity returns with very low bond-type risk.” Turley and his partners also described the strategy to clients and prospects as one “which provided equity-like returns without equity-like risk.” J.P. Morgan supervisors even documented Turley’s description of the strategy as “creating portfolio with similar returns, but less volatility than an all-equity portfolio.” Note: It appears that no J.P. Morgan supervisor ever checked to see if the representations were true and if anybody did, they would have known Turley was lying and have directly participated in the scheme. The Claimants’ representative was also told Turley used leverage derived from selling foreign currencies, Yen and Euros, to get the “equity-like” returns he promised. Turley also told the investor not to be concerned because he “carefully” added leverage to enhance returns. According to Turley, the securities of the companies he invested in for clients “did not move up or down like the stock market,” so there was no need to worry about him using leverage in Claimants’ accounts and their cash would be available whenever it was needed. The Claimants’ representative was not the only client who heard this from Turley; that is, he did not own volatile stocks and not to worry about leverage. Turley did not discuss the amount of leverage he used in clients’ accounts, which ranged from 1:1 to 3:1, nor did Turley discuss the risks currency transactions added to the portfolio, margin calls or forced liquidations as a result of his investment strategy. After all, Turley knew he could get away without disclosing those risks. This was because J.P. Morgan suppressed any margin calls being sent to Turley’s clients and he liquidated securities on his own to meet those margin calls without alarming clients.  This “one-size-fits-all” strategy was a recipe for disaster. J.P. Morgan and Turley have both admitted that Turley’s investment strategy was not suitable for any investor whose liquid net worth was fully invested in the strategy. It was especially unsuitable for those customers like Claimants who had other plans for the funds in their J.P. Morgan accounts in fall 2019 and spring 2020. Unfortunately, Turley recommended and managed the “one-size-fits-all” strategy for his best clients and friends, including Claimants. Turley was Claimants’ investment advisor and portfolio manager and required under the law to serve them as a “fiduciary.” He breached his “fiduciary” duties in making misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The most egregious breach was his failure to take any action to protect his clients at the end of February 2020, when J.P. Morgan raised the red flags about COVID-19 and recommended defensive action be taken in clients’ accounts. Turley Allegedly Managed Claimants’ Accounts Without Written Discretionary Authority Claimants’ representative hired Turley to manage his “dry powder,” the cash in Claimants’ accounts at J.P. Morgan, which he would need on short notice when business opportunities arose. At one point, Claimants had over $100 million on deposit with J.P. Morgan. It was not...

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Can I Sue My Financial Advisor For Structured Note Investment Losses?

Structured notes are investments that combine securities from several asset classes to create a single investment with a particular risk and return profile over a time period. Unfortunately, investment loss is not unheard of with structured notes. This article will try to explain how a structured note works and what you can do if you have lost money due to an advisor’s bad purchase decisions for you. Can I Sue My Financial Advisor For Structured Note Investment Losses? Yes, you can sue your financial advisor for structured note investment losses for one or more of the following reasons: The nature, mechanics, or risks of the structured note were misrepresented. The financial advisor failed to provide you with a prospectus, offering memorandum, or otherwise disclose all of the material risks of the structured product investment. The recommendation that you invest in a particular structured note was unsuitable. Your account was over-concentrated in structured notes which may otherwise have been suitable for a small percentage (10% or less) of your portfolio. What Are Structured Notes? Structured notes are investments which often combine securities of different asset classes as one investment for a desired risk and return over a period of time. They are complex investments that are often misunderstood by not only investors but the financial advisors who recommend them.  Structured notes are manufactured by financial institutions in all sizes and shapes. Generally, a structured note is an unsecured obligation of an issuer with a return, generally paid at maturity, that is linked to the performance of an underlying asset, such as a securities market index, exchange traded fund, and/or individual stocks. The return on the structured note will depend on the performance of the underlying asset and the specific features of the investment being made. The different features and risks of structured notes can affect the terms and issuance, returns at maturity, and the value of the structured product before maturity. They may have limited or no liquidity before maturity. Before investing, you better make sure you understand the terms and conditions and risks associated with the structured note being offered. Structured notes are often represented as investments being guaranteed by large financial institutions. Indeed, the top issuers of structured notes in 2021, Goldman Sachs (12.75%), Morgan Stanley (12.70%), Citigroup (12.46%), J.P. Morgan (11.92%), UBS (80.47%), Credit Suisse (4.99%), RBC (4.45%), Bank of America (3.90%), Scotiabank (3.89%), are some of the largest financial institutions in the world. It’s important to understand that although the benefits of owning structured products may be guaranteed to be paid by one of those large financial institutions, the amount of interest or principal being guaranteed is dependent upon the features of the product being sold; that is, the specific terms and conditions of the investment contract being purchased. In this low-interest rate environment the most popular structured notes being offered are structured notes with principal protection and income features. Some of the structured notes offer full principal protection, but others offer partial or no protection of principal at all. Some structured notes offer higher rates of interest that may be paid monthly and then suddenly stop paying any interest at all because payment was contingent upon certain events not happening. It all depends on the terms and conditions of the investment contract being purchased, which is why you must read the term sheet or better yet the prospectus to understand the nature, mechanics and risks of the structured note being sold. You need to understand that there are many key terms beyond the words “guarantor” and “guaranteed” which are used often to describe structured notes. You need to ask about and be sure to understand the following features of the structured notes being offered: the nature of the “reference asset” (a/k/a the “underlyings”) the reference index(es), ETF(s), or stock(s) underlying the structured note. whether the “reference asset” gets put to you at maturity (delivered) or you get paid in cash and forced to realize a loss. the “barrier levels” which can dictate the payment of interest and/or return of capital to the investor in the structured notes. whether the notes “auto-callable” which might force you to realize permanent loss that might not otherwise have occurred if you were allowed to hold the securities through market fluctuation. the “redemption dates,” or “observation dates, ” which may impact the amount of payment of principal or interest you ultimately receive. whether the interest payments subject to a “contingent coupon” and, if so, be sure you know the contingency parameter and the level where your interest payments may stop. How the “closing value” and/or “final value” of the “reference asset (as)” are calculated on the “redemption date(s)” or “observation date(s).” Are Structured Notes Suitable Investments? Let me answer that question this way, a particular structured note may be suitable for somebody but not everybody. With regard to the more common structured notes being offered by the major financial institutions these days, they are not suitable for individuals seeking an investment that: produces fixed periodic interest payments, or other non-contingent sources of income and/or you cannot tolerate receiving few or no interest payments over the term of the notes in the event the closing value of the underlings or reference stock falls below a barrier level on one or more of the observation dates. participates in the full appreciation of the reference stock rather than an investment with a return that is limited to the contingent interest payments, if any, paid on the notes. provides for the full repayment of principal at maturity, and/or you are unwilling or unable to accept the risk that you may lose some or all of the principal amount of the notes in the event the final value of the reference asset falls below the barrier value. They are not suitable investments if you are someone who: anticipates that the closing value of the reference asset will decline during the term of the notes such that the closing value of the reference asset will fall below...

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Investment & Securities Lawyers

We are a Nationally Recognized Securities Law Firm

With a Successful Track Record for Recovery of Investment Losses

Attorney Pearce is a well-respected advocate for investors throughout the legal community, known as a fierce litigator and tireless not only in Boca Raton but throughout Florida and across the nation. Read his Investors Rights Blog and discover the breadth of his knowledge that can only be gained from over 40 years of legal experience for yourself. As one of the most experienced FINRA arbitration lawyers, Mr. Pearce knows all of the available options for your case and will pursue them vigorously to secure the best possible outcome for you and your stockbroker fraud and stockbroker misconduct case. He has earned a peer rating of AV Preeminent * through the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating process, the highest available rating through that program.

Mr. Pearce is one of Thomson Reuters Florida Super Lawyers ** for Securities Litigation (Top 5). Read the feature article about him in the Florida 2014 Super Lawyers magazine entitled: “No Excuses – How Robert Wayne Pearce Stared Down Personal Disaster”.

During his more than 40 years of experience practicing securities and commodities law, he has won numerous million-dollar awards and settlements for his clients which has earned him recognition for his success by The Million Dollar Advocates Forum and The Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum as one of the Top Trial Lawyers in America TM***.

By hiring Robert Wayne Pearce, an attorney with over 40 years of experience practicing in the area of securities, commodities and investment fraud on both sides of the table in arbitrations and courtroom litigation, you will clearly see his legal experience and knowledge in action. Having a fierce litigator and tireless advocate of your rights, an attorney who will quickly identify both the strengths and the weaknesses of your case will surely increase the likelihood of winning your case.

Legal Blog

FINRA Statute of Limitations: A Complete Overview

The FINRA Statute of Limitations applies to claims and disputes that arise under the rules, regulations, or statutes administered by FINRA. Investment brokers have a duty to treat their clients honesty and with integrity. Those who take advantage of, mislead, or steal from their clients shake the investing industry’s foundation. Regrettably, broker misconduct occurs all too often.  You need representation from a FINRA arbitration attorney who has the knowledge, skill, and extensive experience to help you recover your losses if you are a victim of investment broker misconduct. Robert Wayne Pearce and his staff with The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., have over 40 years of experience fighting on behalf of investors victimized by broker misconduct. Contact us today to protect your rights.  Key Takeaways Investment brokers have a duty to their clients to be honest and act with integrity. FINRA is a non-profit corporation that works with the Securities and Exchange Commission to protect investors from brokerage firms’ wrongdoing. You need representation from a FINRA arbitration attorney who has the knowledge, skill, and extensive experience to help you recover your losses if you are a victim of investment broker misconduct. Investors aggrieved by their broker must understand that they do not have six years to file a court claim – in many instances, state statutes of limitations are much shorter than FINRA’s arbitration eligibility time frame. Filing your claim as soon as possible is the best way to protect your legal rights – if you suspect that you lost money in the market because of broker fraud, negligence, or misconduct. What Is FINRA? FINRA is an acronym for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA is a self-regulating organization or SRO. As an SRO, FINRA is a non-profit corporation that works with the Securities and Exchange Commission to protect investors from brokerage firms’ wrongdoing.  FINRA offers professional examinations that certify applicants as investment brokers. It also provides continuing education programs to investment professionals to promote fairness and transparency in the securities markets.  FINRA has the authority to make rules and regulations that govern broker-investor relationships. It takes action to discipline brokers guilty of misconduct. Additionally, FINRA educates investors about their investment goals, strategies, and safe investing. What is the FINRA Statute of Limitations? FINRA’s procedural rules indicate that investors have six (6) years to file a claim for arbitration with FINRA. The six-year period starts when the event that gives rise to the legal claim occurred. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Note: FINRA will dismiss any claim that FINRA decides missed the eligibility deadline. The arbitration panel will rule on eligibility if the parties disagree on whether the eligibility period elapsed. Do not delay filing. Speak with a FINRA lawyer about any questions about your arbitration claim. FINRA tolls, or stops, the eligibility period if the parties file the case in court. Moreover, FINRA’s procedural rules state that courts will toll the statute of limitations when the case remains in FINRA’s jurisdiction. Why Does FINRA Have a Statute of Limitations? There are a number of reasons why FINRA imposes a statute of limitations on investor claims. The first is to ensure that evidence related to the claim can still be reasonably obtained. This ensures that investors don’t wait until it’s too late to pursue their claim, and also protects brokerages from false or fraudulent accusations brought years after the events in question. In addition, FINRA’s statute of limitations helps to protect the integrity and reliability of its arbitration process. By ensuring that claims are brought within a reasonable timeframe, FINRA is able to accurately and fairly assess all evidence related to an investor claim in order to render an informed decision on their case. FINRA offers arbitration and mediation services to investors who file a complaint against their broker or brokerage firm. The victimized investor must file their claim with FINRA’s arbitration board within a specified period of time. The investor contemplating pursuing a legal cause of action for their losses should be aware of other deadlines that affect their claim. FINRA Statute of Limitations Concerns FINRA’s arbitration eligibility rules are distinct from federal or state statutes of limitations. Investors aggrieved by their broker must understand that they do not have six years to file a court claim. In many instances, the statutes of limitations are much shorter than FINRA’s arbitration eligibility time frame. Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and its regulations grant investors the right to sue their broker or advisor for fraud or any other unfair practice. Section 10b and its regulations found at 17 C.F.R. 240.10b-5 have a two-year statute of limitations.  Under these rules, the two-year statute of limitations starts when the investor discovers the fraud or no more than five years after the alleged fraud occurred. The time when the investor discovered the fraud is essential to understand. Otherwise, you might unwittingly allow the statute of limitations to run out before having the chance to file your claim. The statute of limitations starts when the investor knew or should have known about the fraud.  You must understand your investments and how they work so you can uncover evidence of fraud as soon as possible. If you are unsure if you are the victim of fraud, you must contact a knowledgeable and reputable securities attorney to protect your rights and investment. State Statutes of Limitations Some states will allow you to file a lawsuit in state court for a violation of state law. Filing in state court might be the better option for an aggrieved investor. Statutes of limitations for state law claims could be as short as two years.  How Long Do I Have to File a Claim Against My Broker? Filing your claim as soon as possible is the best way to protect your legal rights. Simply because FINRA agreed to arbitrate a claim within six years does not mean you should wait six years to file. Instead, you should be...

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What Is Financial Advisor Malpractice?

As an investor, you expect your financial advisor to properly manage your investment portfolio. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens. Financial advisors owe their clients certain obligations with respect to their investment accounts. Failure to adhere to these obligations can result in a claim for financial advisor malpractice. In certain circumstances, the financial fraud committed by your financial advisor will be obvious. For example, if your financial advisor forged your signature on a document, he or she clearly committed misconduct. However, most financial malpractice claims are not this straightforward.  The securities attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., have helped hundreds of investors recover losses caused by financial advisor malpractice. Contact us today for a free consultation. What Is Financial Advisor Malpractice? Financial advisor malpractice is a term that refers to a financial advisor’s failure to satisfy the fiduciary standards and obligations that are in place to protect investors. As fiduciaries, financial advisors are legally bound to act in their clients’ best interests and not exploit them for personal gain. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. In some cases, financial advisor malpractice can be straightforward. Fabricating documents, forging a client’s signature, or lying to a client about the status of an investment are all examples of clear financial advisor malpractice. Other times, it can be more subtle and difficult to identify. As such, most investors become aware that they’ve been the victim of financial advisor malpractice only when their investments start to decline in value. This is often after it’s too late to recoup their losses, as the trusted advisor has already moved on to work with new clients who have yet to suffer the same fate. Note: If you believe you are a victim of financial advisor malpractice or investment fraud, the securities fraud lawyers at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. can help. We have a history of successfully recovering financial losses for clients who have been hurt by unethical or fraudulent practices. Contact us today at (800) 732-2889 or fill out one of our short contact forms. What Are My Financial Advisor’s Obligations and Duties to Me?  Registered financial advisors must adhere to certain fiduciary duties, or obligations, with respect to their clients. Financial advisors who are not registered and are not making securities recommendations to retail customers still owe their clients certain obligations, but they are not as stringent as fiduciary duties. Fiduciary Duties Registered investment advisors are bound by fiduciary duties to their clients. The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 defines the role and responsibilities of investment advisors. At its core, the purpose of this act was to protect investors.  A financial advisor owes their client a duty of care and a duty of loyalty. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) interprets these fiduciary duties to require a financial advisor to act in the best interest of their client at all times. The SEC provides additional guidance for each fiduciary duty specifically. The duty of care requires that an investment advisor provide investment advice in the client’s best interest, in consideration of the client’s financial goals. It also requires that a financial advisor provide advice and oversight to the client over the course of the relationship. The duty of loyalty requires an investment advisor to disclose any conflicts of interest that might affect his or her impartiality. It also means that the financial advisor is prohibited from subordinating his or her client’s interests to their own. Related Read: The Most Common Examples of Breach of Fiduciary Duty (And What to Do) The Suitability Rule Broker-dealers in the past were subject to less demanding obligations.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulates broker-dealers in the United States. FINRA previously imposed a suitability obligation on broker-dealers that only required them to make recommendations that were “suitable” for their clients.  Under the suitability rule, a broker-dealer could recommend an investment only if it was suitable for the client in terms of the client’s financial objectives, needs, and risk profile. Broker-dealers did not owe a duty of loyalty to their clients and did not have to disclose conflicts of interest.  Recently, however, FINRA amended its suitability rule. Regulation Best Interest FINRA recently amended its suitability rule to conform with SEC Regulation Best Interest (Reg. BI), making it clear that stockbrokers now uniformly owe certain heightened duties when making recommendations to retail customers.  As with fiduciary duties, under Reg. BI, all broker-dealers and their stockbrokers now owe the following duties:  Disclosure,  Care,  Conflicts, and  Compliance.  However, it’s important to remember that they owe these duties only when they make recommendations regarding a securities transaction or investment strategy involving securities to a retail customer.  While these changes are still new, one thing is certain—the Reg. BI standard is definitely a heightened standard compared with the previous suitability standard.  Forms of Financial Advisor Malpractice Investors usually hire financial advisors because they do not have experience in investing. With this lack of experience, how can an investor know when a financial advisor is committing malpractice? There are several ways financial advisors can commit financial malpractice. Lack of Diversity Financial advisors have a duty to ensure your investment portfolio is properly diversified to include a variety of investment assets. That may include a mixture of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds in multiple different sectors.  A portfolio that lacks diversification is likely to result in significant losses to the client in the event of a market downturn in a specific sector. If you believe your financial advisor failed to properly diversify your portfolio, contact a securities attorney today. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., have significant experience handling these types of cases and will ensure the financial advisor responsible for your losses is held accountable.  Your Investments Are Unsuitable Every investor is unique. That means financial advisors must consider the specific goals and needs of each individual client before recommending investments. A financial advisor must consider a client’s risk...

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What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud?

When securities fraud is discovered, legal action can be taken against the perpetrators as long as the statute of limitations for securities fraud has not passed. The investment and securities industry is heavily regulated to protect investors from fraud and other unscrupulous practices. Unfortunately, there are still many instances of securities fraud that occur each year. What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud? The statute of limitations for securities fraud in Florida is subject to two separate timelines: a two (2) year statute of limitations and a five (5) year statute of repose. The statute of limitations is the time period during which legal action can be taken and they vary from state to state. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. IMPORTANT: Securities fraud is a complex area of law, and the statute of limitations can be complicated to determine. Due to this, if you believe you are a victim of securities fraud, you should consult with an experienced securities fraud attorney to discuss your legal options and whether the statute of limitations may apply to your case. This is where things can get complicated when dealing with lawsuits relating to securities fraud. Both of these timelines begin running on different dates, and it is important to understand the difference between them. For the two-year statute of limitations, the clock starts ticking when the plaintiff becomes aware of the “facts constituting the violation.” The five-year repose period begins from the defendant’s last culpable act, regardless of whether the plaintiff is aware of it or not. The pairing of these two timelines ensures that there is always a chance to take legal action against securities fraud, even if the victim was not aware of the fraud at the time it occurred. Regardless, if securities fraud has occurred, the sooner action is taken, the better. How does the law define when a securities fraud has been “discovered” or should have been discovered? Due to the complexity of the securities and investment market, it can be difficult to determine when a securities fraud has been “discovered” or should have been discovered. In part, this is why there is a range of two to five years after the date of the fraud within which legal action can be taken. As a good rule of thumb, the time starts ticking on the statute of limitations when the investor becomes aware of (or discovers) the facts or should have been aware of the facts that would cause a reasonable person to believe that securities fraud has occurred. This means two things: one, if the investor believes that he or she has been defrauded, the investor should act quickly and consult with an investment fraud attorney to discuss his or her legal options; and two, if the investor is unsure whether securities fraud has occurred, the investor should err on the side of caution and seek legal counsel to avoid losing the right to take action. IMPORTANT: Unfortunately, ignorance to a securities fraud often will not excuse the running of the statute of limitations. If you have suffered investment losses due to another’s actions, you may have a securities fraud claim, even if you were unaware of the fraud at the time it occurred. How is Securities Fraud handled in Court? The securities fraud cases for investors are typically handled in civil court and arbitrations, rather than criminal court.  A vast majority of securities fraud are brought under Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits “any manipulative, deceptive, or fraudulent practices” in the securities industry. In addition, securities fraud cases can be tried through the FINRA arbitration process. More and more disputes are being handled through FINRA arbitration, as it is generally faster and less expensive than going to court. You can represent yourself in a FINRA arbitration, but even FINRA recommends that you consult a FINRA arbitration attorney to ensure that your case is properly presented and all possible legal options are explored. How to Report Securities Fraud If you believe that you have been the victim of securities fraud, there are a few things you can do: File a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). File a complaint with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). Contact an experienced securities fraud attorney. In securities fraud claims, timely filing of a claim is critical. As a result, if you believe you have been the victim of securities fraud, it is essential to act quickly. Filing a complaint with FINRA or the SEC generally will not help you get compensated for your losses. However, it is an important step in the dispute resolution process as any investigation by the regulators might put pressure on the defendants to resolve your claim and get compensation for your losses. An experienced securities fraud attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and recovering your losses. Consider Speaking with a Securities Fraud Attorney If you believe that you have been the victim of securities fraud, you do have legal options available to you. Finding yourself a victim to securities fraud can be a confusing and frustrating experience. We can help. At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we have successfully represented many investors who have been victims of securities fraud. To schedule your free confidential consultation, please call us at 561-338-0037 or fill out one of our short contact forms.

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