J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC (“J.P. Morgan”) employed San Francisco Financial Advisor Edward Turley (“Mr. Turley”) and his former New York City partner, Steven Foote (“Mr. Foote”), and is being sued for their alleged stockbroker fraud and stockbroker misconduct involving a highly speculative trading investment strategy in highly leveraged margin accounts1. We represent a family (the “Claimants”) in the Southwest who built a successful manufacturing business and entrusted their savings to J.P. Morgan and its two financial advisors to manage by investing in “solid companies” and in a “careful” manner. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan, Mr. Turley, and/or Mr. Foote and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case.Keep Reading
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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 -
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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. -
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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. -
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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 -
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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. -
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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 securities 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.
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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.
Is hiring a financial advisor in your best interest? In many cases, it may be when it comes to your investments. According to the SEC, approximately 6 in 10 households in the United States own securities investments. With more Americans investing, there is an increased need for financial advisors who can provide valuable insight into how best to invest and manage your accounts. A financial advisor acting in your best interest is one of the best assets you can have when it comes to your investments. However, not all financial advisors live up to this standard. Before you hire a fiduciary to represent your investment interests, it is important to first understand the duties your financial advisor owes you. By doing so, you will be better equipped to recognize when yours may not be acting in your best interest. If you need help determining whether a financial advisor acting in your best interest and what you can do if they did not, we want to help. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., has represented countless defrauded investors who have fallen victim to the actions of their advisors. Investment loss attorney Robert Wayne Pearce has over 40 years of experience handling a broad range of securities and investment disputes. Give us a call today to see what we can do for you. Fiduciary and Financial Advisor: Your Best Interest Is What Matters Most When you hire a financial advisor to provide you counsel regarding your investments, you expect that they will act in your best interest. The relationship between you and your advisor is a “fiduciary” relationship. This fiduciary relationship requires a financial advisor to act in a certain manner when it comes to their clients’ investments. But what exactly is a “fiduciary duty,” and how do I know if my financial advisor owes me a duty to act in my best interest? We’ll dive into these questions in more detail below. Fiduciary Duties: An Overview A fiduciary is someone who acts on behalf of someone else. In the investment context, a financial advisor who is hired to provide counsel and advice regarding their investments is a fiduciary. At its core, a fiduciary relationship relies on trust and good faith between the advisor and the client. Being a fiduciary means that an investment advisor must act in their client’s best interest, putting their client’s needs over their own needs. In short, a fiduciary duty is a legal responsibility owed by the fiduciary (financial advisor) to act in the principal’s (client) best interest. A fiduciary’s main duties are to: Put the client’s best interests first, ahead of their own; Avoid conflicts of interest or disclose them to the client as soon as they arise; and Act with honesty, good-faith, and loyalty toward the client. Failure by a financial advisor to act in your best interest may constitute a breach of their fiduciary duty. This can result in serious liability for the advisor. Is Everyone a Fiduciary? No, not everyone will be considered a fiduciary. A fiduciary relationship is a special relationship that arises only in specific circumstances. The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 requires only registered investment advisors to abide by fiduciary obligations to act in a client’s best interests. Thus, all investment advisors who are registered with the SEC or a state securities regulator are fiduciaries. Broker-dealers and stockbrokers, on the other hand, are not fiduciaries. The New “Best Interest” Rule: A Replacement for the Suitability Standard Until recently, there was a lower standard of care that applied to most brokers and agents. This was governed by FINRA Rule 2111, otherwise referred to as the “suitability” standard. Unlike a fiduciary standard of care, suitability required only that a broker-dealer make investment decisions that were “suitable” for his or her client based on the client’s investment objectives. They did not have to put their client’s interests ahead of their own. Further, they were free to recommend products that might benefit themselves, so long as the product was suitable for the client. This changed on June 30, 2020, when the SEC enacted Regulation BI—the Best Interest Rule. Now, regular stockbrokers also have a duty to act in the best interests of their retail clients when making recommendations about their investments. Specifically, Regulation BI imposes four obligations upon broker-dealers and associated persons: Provide disclosures to customers regarding the relationship at the time of or before making any recommendations; Exercise due care, or reasonable diligence, care, and skill, in making recommendations to customers; Establish, maintain, and enforce procedures and policies to address potential conflicts of interest; and Establish, maintain, and enforce procedures and policies to achieve compliance with Regulation BI. If you feel your financial advisor or broker has failed to act in your best interest and live up to their obligations, seek help promptly from an experienced attorney. How Do I Know If Someone Is a Fiduciary? The easiest way to know for sure if a financial advisor is a fiduciary is to ask them. You can also check on the SEC Investment Advisor Database for federally registered investment advisor firms. Another way is to ask about an advisor or advisor firm’s pay structure. If an advisor is paid based on commission, he or she is most likely not a fiduciary. Fiduciaries usually work on fees only, so an advisor who advertises that they work on commission may not be acting as a fiduciary. But again, remember that even if your advisor is not a federally registered investment adviser held to a fiduciary standard, they still owe you certain obligations. All stockbrokers now have a duty to act in the best interests of their retail investors when making recommendations regarding their investments. Breach of Fiduciary Duty and What to Do If Your Financial Advisor Doesn’t Act in Your Best Interest A fiduciary breaches his or her duty by acting in their own interest rather than in their client’s interest. Additionally, failure to act in your best interest may give rise to a...Learn More
When investors hire a financial advisor, they expect the advisor to act in their best interest to prevent unnecessary losses. Unfortunately, however, financial advisors do not always live up to these expectations. In some cases, a financial advisor fails to follow an investor’s requests and guidelines or otherwise engages in misconduct, causing the investor to suffer losses. When this happens, the investor may be able to file a complaint against the advisor to recover his or her losses. But how do you file a complaint against a financial advisor? And when do you know it may be time to do so? If you or a loved one has suffered significant investment losses at the hands of your financial advisor, contact The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., today. With more than 40 years of experience, our investment loss recovery attorneys can help you understand when and how to file a complaint against an advisor. Give us a call to discuss your case, and see what our team can do for you. A Brief Overview of FINRA and How It Affects Your Ability to File a Complaint Against a Financial Advisor Before discussing how to file a complaint against an advisor, it is important to have an understanding of the process in general and whether you can bring a claim at all. Financial advisors and their employers are governed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA’s stated mission is to “safeguard the investing public against fraud and bad practices.” FINRA has the power to take disciplinary actions against registered financial advisors or broker-dealers who violate the industry’s rules. In 2019, FINRA reported that it initiated 854 disciplinary actions, levied $39.5 million in fines, and ordered restitution of $27.9 million be paid to investors. FINRA also expelled 6 member firms, suspended 21 member firms, barred 348 individuals from the securities industry, and suspended 415 individuals. In short, FINRA provides significant protections for investors and processes through which advisors can be held accountable for their misconduct. However, it is important to note that you may not be able to file a complaint against an advisor in court as you might expect. Required Investor Arbitration When you open a brokerage account with a member firm regulated by FINRA, you will likely sign a customer agreement. This agreement controls many aspects of the investor-advisor relationship, including potential disputes you may have with your advisor or their firm in the future. More often than not, these customer agreements contain a mandatory arbitration clause. An investor must arbitrate through FINRA when: There is a written arbitration agreement; The dispute is with a broker or firm who is a member of FINRA; and The dispute is related to the securities business of the broker or firm. If all these are true, then you must bring any claim you may have against your broker or their firm to FINRA arbitration, rather than filing a lawsuit in the court system. Nevertheless, you do still have an opportunity for your claim to be heard and to hold your advisor accountable. How FINRA Arbitration Works Many people believe that going to court is the best way to hold a financial advisor accountable. However, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, FINRA arbitration is much more common than you might think. Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method that allows parties to a legal dispute to resolve their issues outside of court. Much like in a court case, the parties file pleadings, present testimony and evidence, and make oral arguments. The key difference between a trial and arbitration is the forum. Whereas a trial is presented in front of a judge or jury, an arbitration is presented before a panel of independent arbitrators chosen by the parties. However, just as a judge or jury renders a final judgment at trial, an arbitration panel also renders a final and binding award on the parties in the arbitration. Thus, arbitration can still be an effective method of resolving your claims with a financial advisor. When Can I File a FINRA Complaint Against a Financial Advisor? Just because you lost money on an investment does not necessarily mean you should file a complaint against your financial advisor. Rather, you must show that you lost money because of your financial advisor’s negligence or misconduct. Some of the most common types of investment fraud for which you may be able to file a complaint against your financial advisor include: Ponzi schemes, Pyramid schemes, “Pump and dump” scams, Advance fee fraud, High yield investment frauds, and Offshore scams. Additionally, financial advisors have a fiduciary duty to their investors to reasonably invest and manage their investments. If your financial advisor breaches his or her duty, resulting in monetary loss, you may be entitled to file a complaint. Of course, there are many ways in which a financial advisor can commit misconduct. For more information on what constitutes a breach of duty by a financial advisor, read our post, Can I Sue My Financial Advisor Over Losses? Filing Your Complaint Against a Financial Advisor The first step in initiating your complaint is completing what is called a “statement of claim.” The statement of claim details what occurred in your particular case. This is your opportunity to tell FINRA your side of the story, so it is imperative that it is as complete and detailed as possible. You then submit your statement of claim to FINRA, after which time the case will move forward. The steps following the filing of your complaint include: The filing of an answer by the opposing party, Arbitrator selection, Prehearing conferences, Discovery, The arbitration hearing, and Final decision and awards. FINRA’s arbitration process can be faster and less formal than a court trial. However, it is still helpful to have an experienced attorney in your corner. An investment fraud attorney can help you draft and file your statement of claim. This is arguably one of the most important parts of the FINRA arbitration process. ...Learn More
Protecting seniors from financial exploitation requires a collaborative effort between the government and financial experts. In general, securities brokerage firms and their stockbroker employees have a fiduciary duty to their customers. FINRA rules also establish a broker-dealer and stockbroker’s responsibility to protect seniors from financial exploitation by others. Unfortunately, the financial exploitation of seniors is a growing problem. If you or a family member believes you were taken advantage of by your stockbroker, investment advisor or another financial professional then you need to speak with a skilled investment fraud attorney right away. Based in Boca Raton, the legal team at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., has years of experience representing clients for various types of investment, securities, and commodities fraud. We have handled hundreds of JAMS, FINRA, and AAA securities mediations and arbitrations for clients across the country and even some international clients. Financial Exploitation Is Elder Abuse According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, financial exploitation is a type of elder abuse on the rise. It covers the abuse of seniors and adults who have disabilities. This type of abuse usually involves trusted people in a person’s life, such as stockbrokers, investment advisors, other financial professionals, trustees, guardians, caretakers, neighbors, family members, and friends. This abuse happens because many seniors simply cannot protect themselves any longer. They are more trusting and relying on others. They are incapable of detecting fraudulent schemes. It is difficult for them to understand the nature, mechanics or risks of investments being offered and sold to them. Many cannot even read or comprehend the account statements or confirmations sent to them. So they allow others to manage their financial affairs and some of those people they trust and rely upon financially exploit them. There are numerous types of investment fraud perpetrated upon seniors. Some of the most common abuses and scams by stockbrokers, investment advisors and other financial professionals include: Getting seniors to allow fraudsters access to and/or management of their bank and/or brokerage accounts; Telling seniors to write personal checks to stockbrokers, investment advisors and other financial professionals to supposedly make investments not available through the brokerage firm; Taking money from seniors in exchange for worthless promissory notes or notes the fraudster has no intention of ever re-paying to the senior; The offer and sale of unsuitable complex structured products, alternative and non-conventional investments for the high commissions paid on those investments; Advising seniors to take out reverse mortgages or equity lines and use the proceeds to trade securities; Other scams that pressure a senior to use the equity from their reverse mortgage or equity line (or other liquid assets) to purchase an expensive variable universal life insurance policy, variable annuity, or indexed annuity with high commissions, high surrender fees, expensive riders and that may not even mature until the senior is around 90 or 100 years old; Investments or securities schemes, such as Ponzi or pyramid schemes, promising unrealistic returns; Investments involving an unlicensed dealer. Victims of financial exploitation can experience all the same effects as someone who has endured another type of abuse, including depression, loss of trust, and feelings of shame. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Recent rule changes to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) went into effect in February 2018. These significant rule changes help establish additional protections for senior citizens. The two notable changes are FINRA Rules 2165 and 4512. FINRA Rule 2165 The SEC adopted new FINRA Rule 2165, which is the Financial Exploitation of “Specified Adults.” This rule will permit members to place a temporary hold on securities or disbursements of funds from an account when there is suspected financial exploitation. If a financial broker reasonably suspects that there is financial exploitation, then they can withhold disbursement. However, the rule does not create an obligation to stop the disbursement. Instead, it provides the right for brokers to do so. Stockbrokers should be proactive and look for potential abuse, so they can stop it early on, helping protect unsuspecting senior investors from becoming victims. Rule 2165 defines specified adults as particular investors who are most at risk for financial exploitation. That includes the following people: Someone who is 65 years of age or older; and Someone who is 18 and older that the broker has reason to believe has a physical or mental impairment that renders the investor unable to protect their own interests adequately. Brokers also have to know what the rule defines as financial exploitation. One example is the unauthorized or wrongful withholding, taking, use, or appropriation of a specified adult’s securities or funds. Financial exploitation can also be any act or omission made through someone’s guardianship, power of attorney, or any other authority with the purpose of: Converting the specified adult’s assets, money, or property; or Obtaining control of the specified adult’s property, money, or assets through the use of intimidation, deception, or undue influence. Rule 2165 allows a broker to put a temporary hold on suspicious disbursements but not on ones that do not appear to be related to the financial exploitation of seniors. The rule does not apply to transactions in securities, such as a customer’s order to sell their share of stocks. But it could apply to a request by the investor to disburse shares out of their account. FINRA Rule 4512 The SEC also adopted FINRA Rule 4152, which concerns customer account information. Under this amended rule, members must make reasonable efforts to obtain a name and contact information for an investor’s trusted contact person on their account. Investors should have a trusted contact listed whom the stockbroker can reach out to and disclose pertinent information about an account. They can also disclose health status and even ask about the client’s whereabouts if the broker cannot reach them directly. Stockbrokers can get a trusted contact name when opening the account or when updating information for accounts established before the effective date of Rule 4512. The amendment requires the broker to disclose in writing or electronic documentation...Learn More