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

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. 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 unusual for Claimants to deposit millions and make multi-million-dollar withdrawals of funds for different acquisitions and projects. Turley would then select the securities to buy with the cash deposited that suited his “one-size-fits-all” strategy. He would also decide whether to sell securities and/or increase the leverage in the accounts to meet Claimants need for cash from the accounts. Turley regularly made multi-million-dollar purchases and sales in Claimants’ accounts without a word being spoken with his clients.  Although Turley called and texted often, the communications with his clients were almost always about anything other than getting permission to buy or sell any securities in Claimants’ accounts. Turley’s reports about account activity were generally limited to the “Big Number;” that is, reporting the net equity in the accounts and whether it had gone up or down. Turley rarely consulted with Claimants’ representative about any transaction in Claimants’ accounts before they occurred.  Turley exercised his discretion even though Claimants never executed any documents giving him written discretionary authority over Claimants’ accounts. There was not enough time in the day to speak with every client and do the volume of transactions on an individual basis, so Turley exercised discretion and entered large block orders in the same securities for many of his clients at the same time to generate millions in commissions and fees each year. Note: Claimants did not think this was unusual because they hired Turley to manage their accounts, just as they hired others to manage other businesses. However, Turley knew better...

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Investors With “Blown-Out” Securities-Backed Credit Line and Margin Accounts: How do You Recover Your Investment Losses?

If you are reading this article, we are guessing you had a bad experience recently in either a securities-backed line of credit (“SBL”) or margin account that suffered margin calls and was liquidated without notice, causing you to realize losses. Ordinarily, investors with margin calls receive 3 to 5 days to meet them; and if that happened, the value of the securities in your account might have increased within that period and the firm might have erased the margin call and might not have liquidated your account. If you are an investor who has experienced margin calls in the past, and that is your only complaint then, read no further because when you signed the account agreement with the brokerage firm you chose to do business with, you probably gave it the right to liquidate all of the securities in your account at any time without notice. On the other hand, if you are an investor with little experience or one with a modest financial condition who was talked into opening a securities-backed line of credit account without being advised of the true nature, mechanics, and/or risks of opening such an account, then you should call us now! Alternatively, if you are an investor who needed to withdraw money for a house or to pay for your taxes or child’s education but was talked into holding a risky or concentrated portfolio of stocks and/or junk bonds in a pledged collateral account for a credit-line or a margin account, then we can probably help you recover your investment losses as well. The key to a successful recovery of your investment loss is not to focus on the brokerage firm’s liquidation of the securities in your account without notice. Instead, the focus on your case should be on what you were told and whether the recommendation was suitable for you before you opened the account and suffered the liquidation.

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FINRA Arbitration: What To Expect And Why You Should Choose Our Law Firm

If you are reading this article, you are probably an investor who has lost a substantial amount of money, Googled “FINRA Arbitration Lawyer,” clicked on a number of attorney websites, and maybe even spoken with a so-called “Securities Arbitration Lawyer” who told you after a five minute telephone call that “you have a great case;” “you need to sign a retainer agreement on a ‘contingency fee’ basis;” and “you need to act now because the statute of limitations is going to run.”

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A Stockbroker’s Introduction to FINRA Examinations and Investigations

Brokers and financial advisors oftentimes do not understand what their responsibilities and obligations are and what may result from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) examination or investigation. Many brokers do not even know the role that FINRA plays within the industry. This may be due to the fact that FINRA, a self-regulatory organization, is not a government entity and cannot sentence financial professionals to jail time for violation of industry rules and regulations. Nevertheless, all broker-dealers doing business with members of the public must register with FINRA. As registered members, broker-dealers, and the brokers working for them, have agreed to abide by industry rules and regulations, which include FINRA rules.

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What are Structured Notes?

Structured notes are a type of investment that can offer higher returns than traditional investments, but they also come with more risks. Structured notes are created by banks and other financial institutions, and they are typically sold to investors through brokerages. The issuer of the note will bundle together different types of securities, such as stocks, bonds, and commodities, and then structure them in a way that offers potential for higher returns. For example, a bank might create a structured note that pays out if the stock market goes up by a certain percentage over the course of the year. The downside of investing in structured notes is that they are complex financial products, which means that investors may not fully understand the risks involved. Additionally, if the underlying securities perform poorly, investors could lose all of their money. In this article, we will cover the following topics: – What are structured notes? – How do structured notes work? – The advantages and disadvantages of investing in structured notes – Legal action you can take if you’ve been sold a structured note If you’re thinking about investing in a structured note, it’s important that you understand how these products work before making a decision. Keep reading to learn more. What are Structured Notes? Structured notes are investments that often combine securities of different asset classes as one investment for the 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. Note: The lack of understanding around how these investments actually work and the fees charged to purchase them have resulted in many investors losing a great deal of money. If you find yourself in this situation, you should speak with a securities attorney about your legal options. Types of Structured Notes There are different types of structured notes, but they all have one goal in common: to give the investor a higher return than what they would get from a traditional investment, like a savings account or government bond. Structured notes can be created with different underlying assets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and even currencies. The most common type of structured note is the principal protected note, which is designed to protect the investor’s original investment while still offering the potential for growth. Other types of structured notes include: Equity-linked structured notes: These structured notes earn returns (dividends) based on the performance of stocks. This can be an individual stock or a group of stocks. Commodity-linked structured notes: These notes are linked to an individual or group of commodity stocks. This includes commodities such as metals, livestock, and agricultural products. Currency-linked structured notes: These notes are linked to a currency, such as the US dollar, Euro, or Japanese Yen. The return on these notes is based on the movement of the currency. Interest rate-linked structured notes: These notes are linked to an interest rate, and returns are usually based on changes in that specific interest rate. Credit-linked structured notes: These notes are specific to the credit risks or events that organizations, such as companies, experience. How do Structured Notes Work? Structured notes are created by banks and other financial institutions. The issuer of the note will bundle together different types of securities, such as stocks, bonds, and commodities. The way these assets are bundled together will create the desired risk and return for the investor over a period of time. All structured notes have two parts: a bond component and a derivative component. Most of the note is invested in bonds for principal protection, with the rest allocated to a derivative product for upside potential. The derivative product investment allows exposure to any asset class. It’s important to remember that a structured note is a debt obligation. The issuer of the structured note typically pays interest or dividends to the investor, similar to a bond, during the terms of the notes. This makes this type of investment seem safe and secure to many investors. However, there is always the potential for loss with a structured note. Structured notes suffer from a higher degree of interest rate risk, market risk, and liquidity risk than their underlying debt obligations and derivatives. If the issuer of the note defaults, the entire value of the investment could be lost. This means that if the issuing bank were to go bankrupt, investors could lose their entire investment. The Advantages of Investing in Structured Notes The versatility of structured notes allows them to provide a wide range of potentially lucrative outcomes that are difficult to come by elsewhere. Structured notes typically offer investors returns that are higher than the interest rates offered on traditional deposits. They may even offer the potential for capital appreciation. However, such gains or capital gains are subject to the performance of the underlying reference asset(s) or benchmark(s), which exposes investors to a wider range of risks than with a traditional deposit. IMPORTANT: Structured notes are often considered too risky and complicated for the individual investor. Unfortunately, the promise of greater commissions in recent years has prompted stockbrokers to push structured notes on investors, including those for whom they were unsuitable, too dangerous, or just not in line with their objectives. Related Read: Can I Sue My Financial Advisor For Structured Note Investment Losses? The Disadvantages of Investing in Structured Notes Investing in structured notes may not be suitable for everyone. The main reason is that they are complex products that are often misunderstood. A vast majority of structured notes are not principal-guaranteed. You may lose all or a substantial amount of the money you invested in certain situations, including if the reference asset or benchmark performs poorly, interest rates rise, or the issuer of the note defaults as outlined by the terms of the product. The principal repayments or the dividends payable, or both may be linked to the performance of a referenced asset, which is often highly volatile. As a result, if the referenced asset underperforms, you may suffer the loss of dividend payments...

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Insider Trading: Definition, Rules, and Penalties

Using insider information to make investment decisions on the stock market is illegal and can lead to serious financial penalties. This type of investment fraud is commonly referred to as insider trading. In this article, we will cover the definition of insider trading, how it is detected and prosecuted when insider trading is illegal, and the potential penalties that a person may face if convicted. What is insider trading? Insider trading is the practice of trading a company’s stocks or other securities by an individual to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential or non-public information. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. For example, if a company insider tells his or her friend about an upcoming merger that has not been made public, both the company insider and the friend could be held liable for insider trading if the friend buys the stock. IMPORTANT: The definition of an “insider” for insider trading purposes is far broader than most people realize. While it includes corporate officers and directors, it also covers employees at lower levels, friends and family members, and other persons who have access to nonpublic information. Who is an “insider”? An “insider” is anyone who is an officer, director, 10% stockholder or has access to inside information as a result of his or her relationship with the Company or an officer, director, or principal stockholder of the Company. According to SEC Rule 10b-5, the definition of an “insider” goes considerably beyond these key company personnel. In fact, this rule also covers ANY employee who has access to confidential information as part of his or her job duties. In addition, if ANY person outside of the company has received a “tip” from an “insider” about the material, nonpublic information, that person would also be considered an “insider” under this rule. Lastly, Rule 10b-5 also covers any family members or close friends of an “insider.” For example, if the CEO of a company tells his son about an upcoming merger, and the son then buys stock in the company before the merger is public knowledge, both the CEO and his son would be considered “insiders” under this rule. Who can be charged with insider trading? An individual is liable for insider trading when they have acted on privileged knowledge or confidential information that is not available to the general public to attempt to make a quick/easy profit. This may include using information about: Upcoming mergers or acquisitions; Unreleased financial reports; New product releases; Changes in company leadership; and any other information that could give an individual an unfair advantage in the marketplace. Identifying insider threats might be simple at times: CEOs, executives, and directors are immediately exposed to important information before it’s made public. However, lower-level employees may also have access to this type of information, which means that anyone from an entry-level analyst to a janitor could be susceptible to committing insider trading. Note: If you are under investigation or have been charged with insider trading, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. An experienced SEC defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you and build a strong defense. How is insider trading detected? Both companies and regulators try to prevent insider trading to ensure the integrity of a fair marketplace. Despite what you may have read before, not all insider trading is illegal. Directors, workers, and management of a corporation may buy or sell the company’s stock with special knowledge as long as they notify the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) about those transactions; these trades are then made public. Unfortunately, not all insider trading is this transparent. Illegal insider trading happens when people use confidential information to make profits in the stock market. The SEC investigates and prosecutes these cases as they are a form of securities fraud. Here are a few of the ways that the SEC detects insider trading: Monitoring Trading Activity The government tracks stocks that are being bought and sold to look for patterns that may be indicative of insider trading. The SEC monitors trading activity, especially around the time when significant events happen, such as a major announcement or earnings release. This practice of surveillance can lead to the discovery of large, irregular trades around the time of these events. The SEC may then investigate the people behind those trades to see if they had access to nonpublic information. Complaints From The Public The SEC also relies on tips from the public to help detect insider trading. When the SEC receives a large number of complaints from investors who lose substantial sums of money around the same time, it can be an indication that insider trading has taken place. Since the insider trader has special knowledge, they can leverage investment tactics like options trading on the company’s stock to make a lot of money in a short period. When this occurs, it can lead to other investors losing money and filing complaints with the SEC. Whistleblowers The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower was created in 2011 to reward people who come forward with information about securities law violations, including insider trading. The SEC gets tips from whistleblowers who come forward with information about potential violations. Whistleblowers can be current or former employees, lawyers, accountants, or anyone else with knowledge of insider trading. Whistleblowers have incentives to come forward, as they may be eligible for a portion of the money recovered by the SEC. The maximum award is 30% of the amount recovered, and it can be higher if the SEC takes action based on the information provided. Which regulatory agencies are involved in investigating insider trading? The SEC is the primary federal regulator that investigates and prosecutes cases of insider trading. The agency has a division, called the Division of Enforcement, which is responsible for bringing enforcement actions against individuals and companies who violate securities laws. The Department of Justice (DOJ) also plays a role in investigating and prosecuting insider trading cases. The DOJ can bring criminal charges against individuals...

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Can You Sue a Brokerage Firm for Investment Losses?

If you have experienced significant investment losses, you may be wondering if you can sue your brokerage firm. Can You Sue a Brokerage Firm? Yes, you can sue a brokerage firm to help recover any investment losses that you have suffered due to a broker’s negligence or fraud. Lawsuits are typically filed against brokerage firms rather than individual brokers because the firm is vicariously (automatically) liable for the actions of all their employees. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. In addition, brokerage firms are directly responsible for supervising its employees and ensuring that they are adhering to industry regulations and can be held liable for their supervisory failures. FINRA rules require a brokerage firm to establish policies and procedures that monitor brokers’ activities in order to avoid investor losses and investment fraud. As such, if the brokerage firm has failed to supervise its employees properly and this has led to your investment losses, you may have a claim against the firm. IMPORTANT: Filing a successful lawsuit against a brokerage firm is a complex undertaking. You will need to prove that the firm did not properly supervise its employees and that this failure led to your investment losses. If you decide to pursue legal action, it is important to consult with an experienced securities lawyer who can help you navigate the process and build a strong case against the firm. When Can a Brokerage Firm be Held Liable for Investment Losses? Despite having issues with an individual broker, many investors are surprised to learn that lawsuits against an individual are actually quite rare. The vast majority of lawsuits that are filed in connection with investment losses are brought against the brokerage firm that employed the broker. A brokerage firm is required to properly supervise its employees and to ensure that they are adhering to FINRA rules and regulations. If the firm fails to do so and this results in investors suffering losses, the firm can be held liable. It’s unfortunately common for independent brokerage firms to hire under-qualified brokers with little to no experience in the industry. These brokers are often given very little training and are left to their own devices when it comes to handling clients’ investments. As a result, these inexperienced brokers can make serious mistakes that cost investors a lot of money. Due to the fact that brokerage firms are required to properly supervise their employees, the liability for investment losses often falls on the brokerage firm that hired the broker rather than the individual broker him or herself. In addition, under Section 20(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act, a brokerage firm can be held liable for the negligence of its individual brokers and advisors. In essence, the law tends to hold the brokerage firm liable for the misconduct of its employees unless the brokerage firm acted in good faith and did not indirectly cause the misconduct which has resulted in the investors’ losses. Note: The process of establishing liability against a brokerage firm is complex and it can be difficult to prove that the firm is responsible for your investment losses. It is in the best interest of the brokerage firm to avoid liability, so they will likely have a team of lawyers working to protect them. As such, if you decide to pursue legal action against a brokerage firm, it is important to consult with an experienced securities lawyer who can help you navigate the process and build a strong case against the firm. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. has over 40 years of experience representing those who have been wronged by a fiduciary and have recovered over $160 million in investment losses for our clients. If you believe that you have been the victim of broker or brokerage firm misconduct, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. When Does the Liability Fall on the Individual Broker? There are many circumstances where the liability for investment losses may fall on the individual broker. For example, if a broker makes material misstatements or omissions about an investment, the broker can be held liable for any losses that result from those misrepresentations. Additionally, if a broker engages in fraudulent or illegal activity, the broker can be held liable for any losses that occur. All brokers and financial advisors are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and owe their clients a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is a legal obligation to act in the best interest of the client. If a broker breaches this duty and causes the client to lose money, the broker can be held liable. There are a wide variety of circumstances where a broker may breach their fiduciary duty to a client. For a more complete discussion on when the liability for investment losses falls on the individual broker, please see our article on “How to Sue a Financial Advisor or Stockbroker Over Investment Losses.” Have You Suffered Investment Losses? Take Legal Action Today. If you have suffered investment losses, you may be able to take legal action against the brokerage firm or individual broker responsible for your losses. The first step is to consult with an experienced securities lawyer to discuss your case and determine what legal options are available to you. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. has over 40 years of experience representing those who have been wronged by a fiduciary and have recovered over $160 million in investment losses for our clients. If you believe that you have been the victim of broker or brokerage firm misconduct, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud?

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. When securities fraud is discovered, legal action can be taken against the perpetrators. However, there is a time limit for taking action, known as the statute of limitations. What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud? The statute of limitations is the time period during which legal action can be taken and they vary state to state. For example, 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. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. 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. However, it is important to note that the sooner action is taken, the better. 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. 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. 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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Margin Calls: How They Work and How You Can Avoid Them

Increased volatility in the market can sometimes bring about uncomfortable and surprising situations for investors, especially when it comes to margin calls. When you buy stock on a margin, you’re essentially borrowing money from your broker to finance the purchase. While this is a strategy that can amplify your gains if the stock price goes up, it can also lead to painful losses if the stock price falls and you’re forced to sell other assets or put more money into your account to meet the margin call. In this article you will learn everything there is to know about margin calls, including: what is a margin call; what triggers a margin call; what happens when you get a margin call; how long do you have to pay a margin call; what happens if you cannot pay the margin call; how you can avoid a margin call; and how to handle margin call liquidation. IMPORTANT: If you have suffered significant investment losses as a result of being forced to liquidate a margin account, you should speak to an experienced securities fraud attorney about your legal options. What is a margin call? A margin call is a demand from your broker that you must deposit more money or securities into your margin account to cover potential losses. This typically occurs when a margin account runs low on funds, usually due to heavy losses in investments. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. In most, but not all cases, your broker will notify you of a margin call and give you a set amount of time to deposit more funds or securities into your account. You typically will have two to five days to respond to a margin call. Timeframes for responding to a call may vary depending on your broker and the circumstances. Regardless of the time frame, it is important that you take action as soon as possible. IMPORTANT: If you aren’t able to meet the margin call fast enough or don’t have any extra funds to deposit, your broker may also force you to sell some of your securities at a loss in order to free up cash. This is known as forced liquidation. In fact, many margin account agreements allow brokerage firms to liquidate your portfolio at their discretion without notice. What triggers a margin call? There are several things that can trigger a margin call, but the most common is when the value of securities in your account falls below a certain level set by your broker (house maintenance margin requirement) or securities exchange where securities are traded (exchange margin requirement). Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. When this occurs, your broker will issue a margin call in order to protect themselves from losses and to ensure that your account has enough funds to cover potential losses. You’re then required to deposit additional funds or securities into your account to meet the call to bring your account back to the maintenance margin level. If you don’t make a deposit, your broker may sell some of your securities at a loss to cover the shortfall. Margin calls can occur at any time, but tend to occur during periods when there is high volatility in the markets. What happens when you get a margin call? A margin call is most often issued these days electronically, through your broker’s online platform. You can also receive an email or other notification from your broker informing you of the margin call and how much money you need to deposit by a certain time. What happens next depends on your broker and the situation. If your broker is not worried about the situation, they may give you some time to raise the extra funds to deposit into your account. If they are worried, they may demand that you meet the call immediately or they may even sell some of your securities to cover the shortfall if you don’t have the extra cash on hand without notice. Yes, a broker can sell your securities without your permission if you don’t have enough money in your account to meet a margin call. All of this depends upon the contract you signed when you opened your account which outlines the broker’s rights in these situations. It’s important to remember that your broker will most likely be interested in protecting their own financial interests rather than yours, so you should make sure that you understand your rights and obligations before entering into a margin agreement. Because they are not always required to give you time to meet a margin call, unless they are under contractual agreement to do so, they may not notify you before liquidating assets in your account to pay off any margin debt. If this happens, your investment portfolio may suffer significant losses. Unfortunately, even if you are in a position to meet the call, you may not be able to get your securities back if they have already been sold by your broker. When you opened up your margin account, you likely signed an agreement that gave your broker the right to sell your securities without notifying you first. This is why it’s important to understand the terms of your margin agreement before signing it. You should also be aware of the risks involved in trading on margin. MPORTANT: If your broker decides to sell your highly appreciated securities, you can be left with large deferred-tax liabilities as well as major capital gain tax expenses that must be paid in the relevant tax year. In addition, brokers can sell your securities within the margin account at an undervalued price, leaving you with even more investment losses. How long do you have to pay a margin call? The time frame for responding to a margin call can vary depending on your broker and the circumstances. Typically, brokers will allow from two to five days to meet the call. You will need to review your...

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What is the Difference Between Solicited & Unsolicited Trades?

Ideally, hiring a skilled broker takes some of the risk out of investing. Unfortunately, however, some brokers fail to act with the appropriate level of integrity. As an investor, it’s very important to understand the difference between solicited and unsolicited trades. The distinction has significant consequences on your ability to recover losses from a bad trade. What’s the Difference Between a Solicited and an Unsolicited Trade? The main difference between a solicited and unsolicited trade is: a solicited trade is a transaction that the broker recommends to the client. In contrast, an unsolicited transaction is one that the investor initially proposed to the broker. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. In regards to solicited trades, the broker is ultimately responsible for the consideration and execution of the trade because he or she brought it to the investor’s attention. The responsibility for unsolicited trades therefore lies primarily with the investor, while the broker merely facilitates the investor’s proposed transaction. Why does the Difference Between an Unsolicited and Socilited Trade Matters? The status of a trade as solicited or unsolicited is hugely important when an investor claims unsuitability. An investor who wants to recover losses may be able to do so if the broker is the one who initially suggests the transaction. Take the following example. You purchase $150,000 of stock in a new company. Shortly after the trade is complete, the stock loses nearly all its original value. As an investor, you will want to recover as much of that loss as possible. One way is to file a claim against your broker on the basis that the stock was an unsuitable investment. When you say that an investment was unsuitable, you are essentially saying that based on the information your broker had about you as an investor, the broker should not have made the trade in the first place. If the stock purchase was at your request—that is, it was unsolicited—then it’s unlikely you’d be able to hold your broker liable for your losses. After all, the trade was originally your idea.  IMPORTANT: If the stock was suggested to you as a good investment by your broker, however, then you may have an argument that you were pushed into a solicited trade that was not in your best interests. If this is the case, you would have a much stronger argument for holding your broker liable. What Is Suitability? The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) imposes rules on registered brokers to protect investors against broker misconduct. Under FINRA Rule 2111, brokers are generally required to engage in trades only if the broker has “a reasonable basis to believe that the recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security or securities is suitable for the customer.” Whether an investment is suitable depends on diligent consideration of several aspects of a client’s investment profile, including: The investor’s age; Other investments, if any; The investor’s financial situation and tax status; The investor’s individual investment objectives; The level of investing experience or sophistication of the investor; The investor’s risk tolerance; and Other relevant information the investor discloses to their broker. When a broker makes a trade without a reasonable basis for believing that the trade is suitable, the broker violates FINRA Rule 2111. Investors may then be able to recover losses from the broker, and FINRA may impose sanctions, suspension, or other penalties on the broker. Broker Obligations to Their Clients When a broker conducts a trade on behalf of an investor, the broker uses an order ticket with the details of the trade. Brokers mark these tickets as “solicited” or “unsolicited” to reflect the status of the trade. For the reasons explained above, this marking is very important. On one hand, it protects a broker from unsuitability claims following a trade suggested by the broker’s client. On the other, it provides an avenue to recover losses in the case of a solicited trade that turns out poorly. FINRA Rule 2010 covers properly marking trade tickets. This rule requires brokers to observe “high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade” in their practice. If a broker fails to properly mark a trade ticket, that broker violates Rule 2010. As an investor, you should always receive a confirmation of any trades your broker conducts on your account.  FINRA has found that abuse of authority by mismarking tickets is an issue within the securities industry. The 2018 report found that brokers sometimes mismarked tickets as “unsolicited” to hide trading activity on discretionary accounts. If your broker feels the need to hide a trade from you, that trade is likely unsuitable. How to Protect Yourself Against Trade Ticket Mismarking Whether your account is discretionary or non-discretionary, and whether you’re new to investing or a skilled tycoon, you should always pay close attention to your investment accounts. Carefully review your trade confirmations to make sure that all trades are properly marked. If you find a mistake, immediately report it to your broker or the compliance department of their brokerage firm. It’s their job to correct these mistakes and make sure they don’t happen in the future. Negative or suspicious responses to a legitimate correction request are red flags that should not be ignored. If you discover your broker intentionally mismarking your trade tickets, contact an investment fraud attorney immediately. Concerned About a Solicited Trade? The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., have been helping investors recover losses for over 40 years. We have extensive experience representing investors and have helped our clients recover over $160 million in total. If you’ve become the victim of unsuitable or fraudulent investing, we can help you. Contact us today or give us a call at 561-338-0037 for a free consultation.

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Everything You Need to Know about an SEC Wells Notice

If you’ve received a Wells Notice from the SEC, it’s important to understand what it is and how to respond. What is a Wells Notice? A Wells Notice is usually a formal letter (sometimes just a telephone call) in which the staff enforcement attorneys of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) notify individuals and/or firms that they are planning to recommend that the SEC authorize the attorneys to bring an enforcement action against the individual and/or the firm.  Investment Losses? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 800-732-2889. A Wells Notice will typically set forth the specific allegations against the individual and/or firm, as well as provide an opportunity for a response before the SEC makes a final decision on whether to bring charges. After an SEC investigation has turned up evidence of potential securities law infractions, the staff enforcement attorneys will usually provide a Wells Notice but, not always! Note: If you have received a Wells Notice, it means the SEC enforcement attorneys believe you have been violating securities laws and regulations, it is not a finding of guilt. It is important that you act quickly and consult with an experienced securities defense attorney to protect your rights and interests. What information is contained in a Wells Notice? A Wells Notice from the SEC will usually contain the following information: Identify the specific charges against the individual or firm that the SEC Enforcement Division is considering; Notify the recipient of the Wells Notice the opportunity to provide a written or videotape voluntary statement defending their actions (which may or may not include arguments why the Commission should not bring an action or why proposed charges or remedies should not be pursued, or bring any relevant facts to the Commission’s attention in connection with its consideration of the matter); Provide a reasonable time period for the recipient to prepare and submit their response; Advise the recipient that any submission should be addressed to the appropriate Assistant Director; Inform the recipient of the Wells notice that their Wells submission may be used by the Commission in any action or enforcement proceeding; An attached copy of the Wells Release; and An attached copy of the SEC’s Form 1662. The majority of what appears in a written Wells notice is boilerplate. Typically, the written notice details statutory and regulatory infractions under consideration but does not allude to the specifics of the specific case. Are public companies required to disclose a Wells Notice? A Wells notice is a private communication to the recipient, and the Commission will not disclose it. In the past, many companies elected to not make any public disclosure of a Wells Notice. However, in recent years, some companies have voluntarily disclosed the receipt of a Wells Notice in their public filings with the SEC. Generally, such disclosures are a discretionary choice, rather than a requirement. The decision turns on whether the investigation and potential consequences would be a material fact that needs to be disclosed in light of other statements being publicly made by the company. Are registered broker-dealers and investment advisors required to disclose a Wells Notice? Yes, if you are a registered broker-dealer or investment advisor, you will be required to disclose the receipt of a Wells Notice in your Form U4. Related Reads: SEC Subpoenas: How to Respond How to Respond to a Wells Notice If you’ve received a Wells Notice, the first thing you should do is consult with an experienced securities defense attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the specific allegations against you and decide whether you should respond at all. If so, the attorney will craft a strategic and customized response on your behalf. Your response to a Wells Notice (also known as a Wells Submission) will be incredibly important in determining whether or not the SEC takes enforcement action against you. In some cases, a well-crafted response may convince the SEC to drop the matter entirely. In other cases, it may result in a more lenient punishment if the SEC does decide to bring charges. Before responding to a Wells Notice, you and your attorney will need to carefully review all of the evidence collected during the SEC’s investigation. This may include: Understanding the specific charges the SEC Enforcement Division is considering filing against you The limitations established for the Wells notice disclosure The deadline for submitting your Wells Notice disclosure to the SEC Once the analysis of the evidence is complete, your attorney will work with you to prepare a persuasive response that addresses the SEC’s specific concerns. This is a very important step as a Wells Submission presents the facts and the first arguments to persuade the SEC Enforcement Division to not pursue an enforcement action or to recommend a less severe action. The SEC will review the response and make a final determination on whether or not to bring charges. Even though the Wells Notice process is confidential, it may become public if the SEC decides to bring an enforcement action against you. More important, whatever is written in the response to the Wells notice could be deemed an admission of the facts stated within the Wells Notice. What Happens if the SEC decides to bring Charges? If the SEC decides to bring charges after you’ve received a Wells Notice, it will file a formal complaint against you in federal court or administrative proceeding. At this point, you will have an opportunity to defend yourself against the SEC’s charges. This is a complex process, and you will need to have an experienced securities defense attorney by your side to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal system. A Wells Notice is just the beginning of the SEC’s enforcement process, but it’s a very important step. If you’ve received a Wells Notice, make sure you consult with an experienced SEC defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure the best possible outcome in your case. Consider Consulting with an Experienced SEC Defense Attorney If you’ve received a Wells Notice, you should consult with an experienced...

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What to Do When a Financial Advisor Steals Money From You

Financial advisors are highly trusted professionals who help make decisions that impact your economic future. When that trust is broken through a bad or negligent act, the investor suffers and the financial advisor must be held accountable. When you’re looking at your investment losses, in the worst-case scenario, you may be asking yourself if a financial advisor can steal your money. Can Financial Advisors Steal Your Money? Yes, an unethical financial advisor can be in a position to steal money from you, especially if you have given them direct access to your money. Because of this, a vast majority of reputable financial advisors never take ownership of your money to protect your best financial interests. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. It is recommended that you always keep control over your investments and never give any financial advisor full discretion over your accounts. Giving an advisor direct access allows them to steal money with ease. Avoid doing so unless you’re 100% confident in the individual you’re dealing with. Note: If you believe your financial advisor stole your money, there are several options for you to recover. We recommend speaking with an experienced investment fraud lawyer to learn more about your rights and how you may recover your losses. The Fiduciary Duty of a Financial Advisor All financial advisors are held to a standard of care when dealing with investors. Registered financial advisors have a higher fiduciary duty to their clients under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. This is the highest legal standard of care and requires financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients, make suitable investments, and disclose relevant information to you.  Knowing whether your financial advisor is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state securities regulator is important because if the advisor breaches the fiduciary duty, you can bring a claim against the financial advisor through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is the governing organization that creates and enforces rules for advisors and their firms and assists in resolving disputes between advisors and investors.  Do You Have a Claim? If your financial advisor outright stole money from your account, this is theft. These cases involve an intentional act by your financial advisor, such as transferring money out of your account. However, your financial advisor could also be stealing from you if their actions or failure to act causes you financial loss.   Losing money through investment is not enough to bring a claim against your financial advisor. Remember, there is no guarantee of return when investing. Even if your financial advisor made the recommendation, under federal securities law and FINRA regulations, you cannot hold your advisor liable simply because they lost you money. You need a viable cause of action, such as a breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, or malpractice. Types of Claims Against Your Financial Advisor  Understanding securities law and FINRA regulations are crucial to know whether you have a valid claim against your financial advisor. The investment loss recovery attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. have over 40 years of experience in securities and investment law. They have helped countless investors recover their financial losses caused by bad or negligent acts by their financial advisors. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. have handled hundreds of cases involving many types of misconduct by financial advisors. Negligence In a negligence claim, you do not need to show that the financial advisor intentionally acted in a harmful way, but rather that the advisor failed to do something they had an obligation to do and caused the economic loss. For example, your advisor may have made an unsuitable investment by failing to take into consideration your risk tolerance. If you lost money based on the recommended investment, it may be appropriate to file a claim for negligence against your financial advisor.  Breach of Fiduciary Duty A financial advisor who breaches his fiduciary duty has failed to meet the required standard of care. You may have a valid claim for breach of fiduciary duty if your advisor failed to execute your stated objectives or did not disclose information about a product. Other examples of breaching the fiduciary duty include: Unauthorized trading, Unsuitable investments,  Undiversified portfolio, and  Account churning.  In each of these instances, the financial advisor did not act in your best interest.  Failure to Supervise A brokerage firm is responsible for supervising the actions of its financial advisors and any other employees. If the firm fails to do this, it can be held liable for your financial losses.  What You Can Do There are several stages of resolution to recover your financial losses. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to resolve it and recover without any formal proceedings, or you may have to litigate. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce P.A. have helped investors in all stages and have successfully recovered over $160 million in losses for our clients.  Review Customer Agreement If you believe your financial advisor stole money from you, either directly or indirectly through losses in your account, you should first review your customer agreement. Understand what sort of authority you gave your financial advisor and if there is a mandatory arbitration clause. This clause is common in most customer agreements with brokerage firms. These clauses often state that you waive your right to file a lawsuit against your advisor and agree to engage in a FINRA arbitration proceeding instead.  Informal Dispute Resolution Claims against financial advisors are incredibly complex legal matters. There are informal options available, however. Even at this stage, you should contact an investor loss recovery attorney for assistance. FINRA, which regulates the investment industry, instructs investors to first pursue informal dispute resolutions before filing a claim against their financial advisor.  Depending on the severity of the financial advisor’s misconduct, you may be able to resolve the matter directly with your advisor or...

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What is Securities Fraud?

If you’ve been the victim of securities fraud, you may be able to take legal action. What is securities fraud? Securities fraud, often referred to as either investment fraud or stock fraud, is a type of deceptive and illegal practice of targeting investors to make investment purchases or sales decisions based on false or misleading information, frequently resulting in substantial investment losses. Almost anyone can be a victim of securities fraud. While the elderly and inexperienced investors are frequent targets, even savvy investors can fall prey to securities fraud if they’re not careful. Perpetrators of securities fraud will often make false or misleading statements in order to persuade investors to buy or sell securities, usually at the benefit of the perpetrator. Important Takeaways Securities Fraud is an illegal and deceptive practice targeting investors to make investment decisions based on false or misleading information. There are many different perpetrators of securities fraud, and almost anyone can be a victim. Commons forms of securities fraud include but are not limited to: High Yield Investment Frauds, Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes, Advance Fee Schemes, Misconduct by an Investment Advisor, and Structured Notes. There are legal actions you can take if you have been the victim of securities fraud, especially if you’ve suffered substantial investment losses as a result. Note: If you believe you have been a victim of securities fraud, it is important to take action. Securities fraud is an illegal or unethical activity punishable by law. You may be able to recover your losses by filing a lawsuit against the person or entity who committed the fraud, as well as protect yourself and other investors from future harm. You should consider talking with a securities fraud lawyer to learn more about your legal options. The Different Perpetrators of Securities Fraud There are many different perpetrators of securities fraud, and they all have different motivations. Some may be driven by greed, while others may simply be trying to take advantage of investors. Regardless of their motivations, all perpetrators of securities fraud share one goal: to make money by deception. Securities fraud can be committed by a single person, such as a stockbroker or a financial advisor. It might also be perpetrated by an organization, such as a brokerage firm, corporation, or investment bank. In these scenarios, the target is usually an unsophisticated investor who is unaware of the fraud being committed. Independent individuals may also commit securities fraud, such as insider trading or market manipulation. In these cases, the individual investor is usually the perpetrator rather than the victim. Due to the actions of the independent individual, the entire market may be impacted, and other investors may suffer losses as a result. Unfortunately, the perpetrator of securities fraud may be unknown. This is often the case with internet fraud, where scammers set up fake websites or send out mass emails to trick investors into giving them money. Anyone can be a perpetrator of securities fraud, and anyone can be a victim. The best way to protect yourself is to be aware of the different types of securities fraud and to know what red flags to look for. What are Common Types of Securities Fraud? There are many different types of securities fraud, but some are more common than others. When a broker or investment firm takes your money with the promise of investing it and then uses it for other things, you’ve been a victim of securities fraud. Securities fraud schemes are often characterized by offers of guaranteed returns and low- to no-risk investments. The most typical forms of securities fraud, as defined by the FBI, are: High Yield Investment Frauds These types of securities fraud are often characterized by promises of high returns on investment with little to no risk. They may involve a few different forms of investments, such as securities, commodities, real estate, or other highly-valuable investments. You can identify these schemes due to their “Too good to be true” offers. These types of fraud tend to be unsolicited. Perpetrators may elicit investments from investors by internet postings, emails, social media, job boards, or even personal contact. They may also use mass marketing techniques to reach a large number of potential investors at once. Once the fraudster has received the investment money, they may simply disappear with it or use it to fund their own lifestyle. The investment itself may not even exist. Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes These types of securities fraud use the money collected from new investors to pay the high rates of return that were promised to earlier investors in the scheme. Payouts over time give the early impression that the scheme is a legitimate investment. However, eventually, there are not enough new investors to support the payouts, and the entire scheme collapses. When this happens, the people who invested at the beginning of the scheme often lose all of their money. In these schemes, the investors were the only source of funding. Advance Fee Schemes In these types of securities fraud, the investor is promised a large sum of money if they pay an upfront fee. The fees may be called “commissions”, “processing fees”, or something similar. The fraudulent organization will often require that the fee be paid in cash, wire transfer, or even cryptocurrency. They may also ask the investor to provide personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Once the fee is paid, the fraudulent organization will often disappear and the investor will never receive the promised money. Other Securities Fraud In addition to the above list provided by the FBI, at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we have found that the following types of securities fraud are also common: Misconduct by an Investment Advisor By far the most common type of securities fraud that our firm sees is misconduct by an investment advisor or brokers. Investment advisors or brokers are supposed to act in their clients’ best interests (fiduciary duty), but some advisors put their own interests ahead of their clients. For example, an advisor might recommend that a client invests in a...

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