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 the Difference 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.  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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How to File a Formal Complaint Against Your Financial Advisor

When you hire a financial advisor, you expect the advisor to act in your 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 an official complaint against the financial advisor through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In this article you will learn how to file a complaint against a financial advisor to recover your losses.

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How to Sue a Financial Advisor or Stockbroker Over Investment Losses

If you’ve lost a significant amount of money in your investment portfolios, you could be wondering if you can sue your financial advisor to help recover those losses. While every case is different, there are a number of factors that will influence whether or not you have a successful lawsuit. In this article, we will discuss some of the key things to consider if you are thinking about suing your financial advisor. Can I Sue My Financial Advisor? The short answer is yes, you can sue your financial advisor if you have suffered losses as a result of your advisor – or the financial institute they work for – actions or inaction. Securities and investment claims in the United States are usually resolved through FINRA’s arbitration procedure. Investment Losses? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Important: If you are considering suing your advisor, it is important to seek legal counsel. Do not file without legal representation. Securities is a complex area of law, and without an attorney, you may not be able to recover the full extent of your losses. A Financial Advisor’s Duty of Care People hire financial advisors and brokers to grow and protect their money. Financial advisors have advanced education and training, which should provide their clients with valuable insight and accurate financial advice. Individual investors expect that their advisors will not defraud or harm them in any other way. Market volatility is difficult to predict with any certainty. Markets dip and rebound over time. A financial advisor must guide you through those difficult times and offer you sound investment advice to minimize or avoid losses.  Some investments are riskier than others. Brokers and financial advisors need to understand their clients’ risk tolerance, as well as their clients’ investment needs. Losses could ruin years of hard work and financial planning.  Market volatility is one thing—negligence, deception, and fraud are something else entirely. Therefore, you should review your portfolio closely to see if you are a victim of misconduct.

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Investment Fraud: Can a Financial Advisor Steal Your Money?

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? The vast majority of reputable financial advisors never take ownership of your money. Giving them direct access allows them to steal money with ease. Avoid doing so unless you’re 100% confident in the individual you’re dealing with. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. 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 the firm’s compliance department. If this is not suitable or you fail to come to a resolution, the next stage is participating in voluntary, non-binding mediation.  FINRA Mediation Mediation is a voluntary process that involves a neutral third party who assists in reaching a mutually agreeable solution. FINRA offers a forum for advisors and investors to mediate. This option...

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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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How to Handle an SEC Subpoena [Step-by-Step]

No one ever wants to receive an SEC subpoena, but when you do it is important to take action immediately so as to protect your future. In this article we will review what an SEC investigation subpoena is, the different types of SEC subpoenas you can receive, and what to do, step-by-step, if you receive an SEC investigatory subpoena. What is an SEC Subpoena? An SEC subpoena is a legal order for recorded testimony that is issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with one of its investigations. The subpoena requests documents, data, or both which are relevant to an ongoing investigation. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Note: If you get served with an SEC subpoena, it means you’re likely under suspicion of committing or witness to securities fraud even though the SEC will tell you not to conclude anything from the fact you were served with a subpoena. SEC Subpoena Power The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing securities laws, proposing new securities rules, and regulating the securities industry. The SEC has the power to investigate almost any company or individual for securities fraud. The SEC is primarily interested in issues involving potential stock manipulation, false or misleading statements in offering documents, insider trading, and other areas where investors are being cheated out of money. The staff of the SEC has subpoena power which they can use to compel individuals and companies under investigation to produce requested documents and/or testify at hearings under oath about their involvement with certain companies or businesses. If you receive an SEC subpoena, your life could be turned upside down until the issue is resolved. There are two types of SEC subpoenas: Subpoena ad testificandum: This subpoena compels the person to whom it is addressed to appear at a specific time and place and testify under oath or affirmation. Subpoena duces tecum: This subpoena compels the person to whom it is addressed to produce documents in his possession or control, either at a designated location or before the person who signed the subpoena. What happens when you get an SEC Subpoena?  When you get served with an SEC subpoena, it means that your records are being requested by a federal agency for an investigation. Generally, you’ll be told that you have 30 days from the date of service of this document to provide all records related to whatever it’s requesting. IMPORTANT: You will likely have to appear in front of a SEC enforcement official who may ask you questions under oath and subject to the penalty of perjury and/or making false statements to a government official. Do not lie about not having any records because if they come back and say you lied about having them, you could be charged with obstruction of justice. What should I do if I get an SEC Subpoena? Unfortunately, investigations by the SEC does happen from time to time. If you receive an SEC subpoena, it’s important to act quickly and be proactive. Below are the steps to take after receiving a subpoena from the SEC: Step 1: Consult a SEC defense lawyer who is experienced with SEC subpoenas immediately. Your lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and represent you during the investigation. An attorney can determine how to respond to your subpoena, what information you should immediately turn over, and help you avoid making any mistakes that could result in additional scrutiny or legal consequences. Step 2: Know your rights under the concept of “privileged” information. Under the attorney-client privilege, for example, you do not have to provide anything to the SEC if it would be between you and your lawyer. Step 3: Read the terms of the subpoena thoroughly. Make sure you understand them and determine what information must be turned over. If your subpoena requests specific documents, the SEC will likely want to review all of those documents. Step 4: Respond to the subpoena as soon as possible with an attorney by your side. Returning things too quickly without consulting a lawyer first could look bad for you during the rest of the investigation process. And if they ask for something that is difficult or unrealistic to produce, you can let them know that upon receiving their request. Some items may take longer than 30 days to find/produce depending on how easy it is for you to obtain (i.e., if there are thousands of emails it could take some time). Step 5: Keep a detailed record of all aspects of the process, including any contact or communication with an SEC investigator(s) so that you can protect yourself down the road with evidence in case there is any uncertainty about what happened during the investigation process. Step 6: Keep the details of your case confidential with yourself and your legal representation. Do not discuss or share information about your case with anyone who isn’t an attorney because you do not want to risk incriminating yourself. Step 7: Be proactive and do not engage in any activity that could be considered obstruction of justice, such as lying or concealing information. What types of records might the SEC subpoena? The Commission may subpoena documents related to financial transactions (including transfers of money between accounts), communications (including e-mails), photographs, videos, and other data like employment history or company policies/employee handbooks/training manuals. For example, the SEC may subpoena communications related to specific stock sales or actions taken during an acquisition. Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced SEC Defense Attorney If you are served with an SEC subpoena, you should promptly contact a lawyer experienced in representing parties dealing with federal investigations to guide you through how to handle your case and protect yourself. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has over 40 years of experience dealing with the SEC subpoenas and enforcement actions. Our attorneys can help you determine what information needs to be turned over, provide advice on how to handle the SEC investigation, and work hard to protect your interests. We will carefully review...

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