Did Your Broker Sell Your Stocks Without Permission?

You looked into your investment account and discovered that a number of your shares had been sold without your permission. You didn’t give the go-ahead, so you’re understandably confused, frustrated, and angry. What do you do now? First, you need to determine who sold your stocks. If it was your broker, you may be finding yourself asking whether or not your broker can sell stocks without your permission. Can my broker sell my stocks without permission? Your broker cannot sell stocks without your permission, unless you have given written authorization to do so. This is called unauthorized trading and not permitted under securities industry rules. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. However, while the appropriate authorization must always be obtained, a broker does not necessarily need to obtain express permission for every transaction. In this article we will review the two circumstances in which a broker may sell securities without prior notice to or consent from the client. Note: If you believe you have suffered losses on your investment as a result of unauthorized trading, you should speak to a stockbroker fraud attorney about your legal rights. Is Your Investment Account a Discretionary Account? The first instance when a broker may sell stocks without your permission is if they are trading in a discretionary account. A discretionary account is one in which the broker has the authority to make investment decisions on behalf of the client, without prior approval from the client. If you are unsure whether or not you have a discretionary account, you learn about the difference between a non-discretionary and discretionary account here. In order for a broker to sell stocks in a discretionary account, they must have what is called “discretion.” This means that the broker must have reasonable grounds to believe that the sale is in the best interests of the client. The key word in this definition is “reasonable.” This means that a broker cannot simply sell stocks without your permission because they feel like it. There must be a reason for the sale, such as an expectation of a market decline or other adverse event that could impact the value of the security. If you do not agree with a decision made by your broker in a discretionary account, you have the right to object and have the decision reviewed by a supervisor. Is There a Margin Call on Your Account? The second instance when a broker may sell stocks without your permission is in response to a margin call. A margin call is when the broker demands that the client deposit additional funds or securities to cover the cost of the stock purchased on margin. Technically, you probably gave him permission when you opened your margin account. If you do not meet the margin call, the broker has the right to sell the securities to cover the margin debt. This is done in order to protect the interests of the broker and the securities lending institution. Trading on a margin account is a risky investment and can result in substantial losses. For this reason, it is important to understand the risks before opening a margin account. You can learn more about margin trading on FINRA’s website. Get a Second Opinion: Contact an Stockbroker Fraud Lawyer Today If you have discovered that your broker sold stocks without your permission, you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused. You may be wondering what your legal rights are and whether or not you can take action. The best way to determine your legal rights and options is to speak with an stockbroker fraud lawyer. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. specializes in representing investors who have suffered losses as a result of investment fraud. We offer free, no obligation consultations so you can learn more about your legal rights and options. Call us today at (877) 228-9395 to speak with an stockbroker fraud lawyer.

Continue Reading

What Does a Securities Lawyer Do?

If you’re having difficulties with your financial advisor or broker and suffered investment losses, you might want to hire a securities lawyer who knows the securities laws and securities industry rules inside and out.  Brokers and advisors provide investment advice and sell securities products such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. When you work with an advisor or broker, you probably signed an agreement that required them to comply with Federal and state securities laws and securities industry rules, including the rules requiring an advisor or broker to only make suitable investment recommendations and to act in your best interest. If your financial professional isn’t doing what was agreed to, or if you think they’ve committed securities fraud, you can file a complaint with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). But before you do, you might want to talk to a securities lawyer. You have the right to seek compensation from the parties responsible if you were an investor who lost money as a result of broker misconduct. What Are Securities Laws? Securities laws are the laws that regulate the securities industry. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is the government agency that oversees the securities industry and enforces the Federal securities laws. These rules are designed to protect investors from fraud and other abuses, and to ensure that the securities industry operates fairly and transparently. Federal law requires companies that sell securities to register with the SEC. This registration process provides important information about a company’s business, its financial condition, and its management. It also gives the SEC important information about the people who sell the company’s securities. The federal securities laws also require those who sell securities to be licensed and to meet other standards of conduct. Investors and brokers use this information to make informed investment decisions. When brokers don’t disclose important information, or make false or misleading statements, they may have committed securities fraud. Further, the SEC provides a forum where investors can bring SEC complaints. The SEC may use these complaints to assist them in SEC investigations and the detection of securities fraud. What Does a Securities Lawyer Do? A securities lawyer specializes in securities laws and regulations that apply to investors, brokers, and financial advisors. Securities lawyers represent investors claiming losses as a result of misconduct or fraud, as well as brokers and financial advisors accused of misconduct by their clients or their employers. Investment Losses? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 800-732-2889. In comparison to other areas of the law in the United States, there are few securities lawyers. Most lawyers who practice in this area work for the government, regulating or prosecuting firms and individuals who have violated securities law. It’s Important To Find A Good Securities Lawyer Who Represents Investors! There are a few lawyers who represent investors in private lawsuits and arbitrations against firms or individuals who have committed fraud and violated other securities laws. In order to sue someone for securities fraud, you must be able to prove that they made false or misleading statements, and that you relied on those statements to your detriment. Proving fraud can be difficult, and you should talk to a securities lawyer before you decide whether to sue. If you are an investor who suffered losses due to broker misconduct, you have the right to seek reimbursement from the parties responsible. Broker misconduct exists in multiple forms, including: Breach of fiduciary duty; Failure to disclose a conflict of interest; Churning, also known as excessive trading; Lack of diversification; Failure to adequately supervise; Misrepresentation; Omission of material facts; Unsuitable investment recommendations; Unauthorized trading; and  Misappropriating client funds.  While some forms of broker misconduct are easy to recognize, others are not. A financial advisor who stole funds out of your account and transferred them to a personal account clearly misappropriated your funds and committed misconduct. It’s more difficult to prove that a financial advisor recommended unsuitable investments, however, because the suitability of an investment depends on a number of different factors.  If you suffered investment losses and believe it was a result of broker misconduct, contact a good securities fraud lawyer today to evaluate your case.  Securities Laws are Complex and Numerous The laws that govern the securities industry are complex and numerous. This is partially due to the fact that the securities industry is complex and ever-changing. As new technologies and products are developed, they must be regulated. And as the markets change and evolve, the rules must change with them. This complexity can make it difficult for investors to understand their rights and what they should do if they think their broker has committed securities fraud. Below are just a few of the securities laws that may be relevant to your case: The Securities Act of 1933 Often called the “truth in securities” law, the Securities Act of 1933 has two main objectives: To require that companies disclose important information about their securities before they sell them; and To prevent fraud in the sale of securities. You can read more about the Securities Act of 1933 here. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is often called the “most important securities law in the United States.” It created the SEC and gave it broad authority to regulate the securities industry. Among other things, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires companies that sell securities to the public to disclose important information about their business, financial condition, and management. It also requires brokers and dealers who trade securities to be licensed and to meet other standards of conduct. You can read more about the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 here. Trust Indenture Act of 1939 The Trust Indenture Act of 1939 is a federal law that regulates the sale of municipal securities. Municipal securities are debt obligations issued by states, cities, and other government entities. The Trust Indenture Act of 1939 requires state and local governments to disclose important information about their finances before they sell municipal securities. It also prohibits them from...

Continue Reading

How to File a SEC Complaint or Report Fraud Against a Broker

Your investments are important—that’s why so many individuals hire investment brokers and financial advisors to manage their investment accounts.  Having a qualified broker can be a great advantage to the growth of your investments. Unfortunately, however, investment and securities fraud remains a common and serious issue in the United States each year. So what do you do if you are a victim of investment fraud at the hands of your broker?  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a mission of protecting investors; maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitating capital formation. In furtherance of this goal, the SEC allows individual investors to file complaints against their broker or their broker’s firm. If your broker committed negligence or broker fraud, you may be entitled to file a complaint and recover your losses. Violations of securities law can be reported to the SEC, which will conduct a comprehensive investigation.  Looking for information on how to file an SEC complaint against a broker? Look no further than the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. Not only can our attorneys help you report your broker, but we can also help you recover your investment losses.  Filing a complaint against your broker with the SEC can be a great way to hold them accountable and put future investors on notice of their wrongdoing. However, doing so doesn’t necessarily help you get your money back. Contacting an attorney, however, can be the first step toward actually recovering your personal investment losses that you suffered at the hands of your broker.  Stockbroker fraud attorney Robert Wayne Pearce has over 40 years of experience handling complex securities, commodities, and investment arbitration and litigation cases. He has helped countless clients through their investment-related disputes, and he will fight to do the same for you. Please don’t hesitate to send us an online message or call (800) 732-2889 today for assistance. Why Would I File a Complaint? There are numerous reasons you may need to file a complaint with the SEC against your broker. Common examples of wrongful actions by a broker or brokerage firm include: Offering fraudulent or unregistered securities;  Misappropriating client funds; Insider trading; Making false or misleading statements; and Failing to file required reports with the SEC. Of course, not all actions by a broker constitute fraud for which you can file a complaint with the SEC. Remember, the stock market is inherently volatile, so the fact that you lost money does not necessarily mean your broker took any wrongful actions.  An experienced investment fraud attorney can help you determine whether filing a complaint with the SEC against a broker might be warranted. Filing a Complaint with the SEC Against a Broker: What You Need to Know If you suffer financial losses due to the negligence or misconduct of a broker or brokerage firm, filing a complaint with the SEC against the broker can be an important step to take.  Not only can this help prevent future investors from being subject to the same fraudulent and predatory actions, but it may also provide you with an avenue to recover your losses. How to File a Complaint Against a Broker The first step in reporting your broker for fraud or misconduct is to file your formal complaint with the SEC.  The SEC provides an opportunity for members of the public at large to submit broker complaints electronically using the SEC’s Investor Complaint Form.  What to Include in Your Complaint The Investor Complaint Form may appear simple to complete. However, there is more to it than you might think.  The form requires basic information such as: Your name and address; Basic information about your broker; The type of investment involved; A brief description of the events giving rise to your complaint; and Any actions you may have already to resolve your complaint against your broker, such as mediation, arbitration, or court action. The complaint form can play a vital role in whether the SEC allows your case to move forward. Thus, the more information you are able to provide, the better equipped the SEC will be to investigate your complaint. An experienced investment fraud attorney can be a great benefit to you as you complete your Investor Complaint Form and move forward in the process.  What Happens After Submitting My Complaint to the SEC After the SEC receives your complaint, they will thoroughly investigate your claim and all relevant evidence.  Central to the process is confidentiality. The SEC conducts its investigations in a manner that will protect the parties and preserve the integrity of the complaint process.  Then, depending on the allegations asserted in your form, the complaint will be referred to the appropriate SEC office. The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy handles basic investor questions regarding securities law and complaints related to financial professionals. These SEC officers will also advise complainants of possible remedies and, in some cases, will intervene on your behalf and reach out to brokers or other financial advisors concerning the issues raised in your complaint. This office may also refer your complaint to another division of the SEC for resolution. Enforcement Division The Division of Enforcement, on the other hand, employs attorneys to review information and tips regarding securities law violations.  Officers in this office investigate the claims in their entirety, retrieving whatever evidence may be necessary. Again, it is important to note that the investigations conducted by the SEC are typically confidential unless made a matter of public record.  After completing a thorough investigation, the Enforcement Division may recommend that the SEC bring civil actions in federal court or before an administrative law judge to prosecute securities law violations.  Why Hire an Investment Loss Attorney to Assist with Complaints Against Your Broker? Reporting the fraudulent misconduct of a broker to the SEC is important. However, filing an SEC complaint is not the only way to hold a broker or brokerage firm accountable.  In fact, in some cases, filing an SEC complaint...

Continue Reading