What Is Financial Advisor Malpractice?

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

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What is the Statute of Limitations for Securities Fraud?

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

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Margin Calls: What Are They & How You Can Manage One

Increased volatility in the market can sometimes bring about uncomfortable and surprising situations for investors, especially when it comes to margin calls. You may find yourself asking when do margin calls happen and how do they work. 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). 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...

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The Definitive Guide To Securities Fraud in 2022

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. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. 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. 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. Key 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. 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...

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Do You Need a Florida Stockbroker & Investment Fraud Lawyer?

The Florida Stockbroker & Investment Fraud Lawyers at Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. have been helping investors recoup their losses incurred due to unethical and illegal stockbroker activity for over 40 years. As an investor in Florida, you have the right to expect that your stockbroker or investment advisor will always act in your best interests. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is dedicated to representing investors nationwide who have been the victims of stockbroker fraud, investment fraud, and misconduct by broker-dealers. Our Florida stockbroker & investment fraud lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for our clients through securities arbitration and litigation. If you have suffered investment losses, we can help. Contact us today at (800) 732-2889 or fill out one of our short contact forms. What is Investment Fraud? When an entity, such as a brokerage firm, takes your money with the promise of investing it and then uses it for other purposes, you have been the victim of investment fraud. Investment fraud scams are frequently characterized by promises of guaranteed profits and low- to no-risk investments. Chances are if it looks too good to be true, it might be. Is Stockbroker Fraud Different from Investment Fraud? Stockbroker fraud is a type of investment fraud that occurs when your stockbroker or other financial professional makes false or misleading statements to you in order to sell you securities, such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. Stockbroker fraud is a form of investment fraud, but not all investment fraud is stockbroker fraud. IMPORTANT: If you are a victim of stockbroker or investment fraud, you may have a limited time to take action. The Florida stockbroker & investment fraud lawyers at The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. can help you recover your losses and hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact us today at (800) 732-2889. Recognizing the Signs That You May Be the Victim of Investment Fraud There are several signs that may indicate that you have been the victim of investment fraud. If you have experienced any of the following, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible: Your Investment dries up or suffers a significant drop in value The market is up, but your investment continues to lose value You are unable to get information about your investment or the company refuses to provide information Your investment is not performing as promised You are pressured to invest more money or told that you need to act now You are told that your investment is low risk when it is actually quite risky The broker or company you invested with has stopped returning calls, responding to emails, or is otherwise unresponsive The hardest part of investment fraud is often recognizing that it has occurred. Many times, people do not realize they have been the victim of fraud until they suffer a significant loss. Do Not Delay – Time May Be Running Out The statute of limitations, or the time you have to take legal action, may be shorter than you think. If you believe that you have been the victim of stockbroker fraud or investment fraud, contact an investment fraud attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and to protect your rights. What is the Statute of Limitations for Investment Fraud in Florida? In the state of Florida, there are two separate timelines for investment fraud in violation of the Florida securities statutes: a two-year (2) statute of limitations and a five-year (5) statute of repose. The two-year statute of limitations for investment fraud in Florida begins to run on the day that you discover or reasonably should have discovered, the fraud. The five-year statute of repose for investment fraud in Florida begins to run on the day that the fraudulent activity occurred, regardless of when you actually discovered it. This means that if more than five years have passed since the fraudulent act occurred, you will not be able to bring a claim, even if you only recently discovered the fraud. There are other claims for common law fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract with different statutes of limitation that may be longer under the facts of your case. For this reason, it is important to contact an experienced Florida investment fraud attorney as soon as possible if you believe that you may have been the victim of investment fraud. Do You Need to Hire an Investment Fraud Lawyer “Near Me”? Since securities are primarily a federally regulated industry, it is not necessary to hire a local Florida investment fraud lawyer. It is still important to find an attorney with experience handling investment fraud cases in Florida, as they will be familiar with the state’s securities laws. These state laws, also known as Blue Sky Laws, may differ from federal securities laws and can potentially provide additional protections for investors. Note: When hiring an investment fraud attorney, it is important to choose one who regularly practices in the field of securities law and arbitration. Securities law is a complex and ever-changing area of law, so you want to be sure that your attorney is up-to-date on the latest legal developments. Are You Dealing with Investment Fraud in Florida? Contact our Florida investment fraud lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. today at (800) 732-2889. We represent investors nationwide who have been the victims of stockbroker fraud, investment fraud, and broker-dealer misconduct. We Have a History of Helping Investors Recover Their Losses The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has helped investors recover their losses in securities arbitration and litigation for over 40 years. We are one of the most experienced FINRA arbitration law firms in the country and have recovered more than $160 million on behalf of our clients. In fact, we have recovered funds for over 99% of his investor clients through various avenues of recovery, including settlements, arbitrations, and court litigation.  Attorney Pearce is a well-respected advocate for investors throughout the legal community, known as a fierce litigator throughout Florida and across the...

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5 of the Best Investment Fraud Lawyers

When you searched for “best investment fraud lawyer” on Google, you came across a few different directory websites that claim to “rank” or “review” investment fraud law firms. As a consumer, you rely on these types of websites to give you an unbiased opinion on who the top service providers are. Unfortunately, the investment fraud lawyers that you see at the top of these lists have likely paid to be there. Directories are a pay-to-play platform where the best firms are not necessarily the ones that are listed first. This means that the order in which the lawyers are listed, or ranked, is not based on merit or quality, but rather on who is willing to pay the most money to publish them closer to the top. These directory websites have neither the knowledge nor expertise to determine who the best investment fraud lawyers actually are. They are looking to make a quick buck by selling ad space to the highest bidder. That is why I decided to write this article. With over 40 years of experience in the securities industry, I have first-hand knowledge of the top investment fraud law firms in the United States. Did You Lose Money Because of Investment Fraud? If you have lost money due to negligence or fraud by a stockbroker or advisor, the easiest way to know if you have a case is to call our office at 800-732-2889. Our investment fraud attorneys will evaluate your claim for free and let you know if we can help you recover your losses. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. I am publicly endorsing some of my firm’s biggest competitors. These are attorneys that I’ve worked with or cases that I’ve followed closely, and which I consider to be the best at what they do. I am publicly endorsing some of my firm’s biggest competitors. These are attorneys that I’ve worked with or cases that I’ve followed closely, and which I consider to be the best at what they do. Why would I do this? Simple. I want you, the investor, to have the best chance possible of recovering your losses. I am more qualified than Justia.com or FindLaw.com or Avvo.com to give my opinion to investors looking for a great investment fraud lawyer. Unlike these websites, I know first-hand the hard work, dedication, and success that each of these attorneys has achieved. My law firm has worked with many of them. We’ve studied their cases. We’ve referred cases to them. They’ve referred cases to us. While we would love for you to come to us first, we understand that you have other options and need to find the one that is best suited for your specific situation. Our goal is for you be successful no matter who you choose. We consider the following to be the best investment fraud lawyers in the United States: I. Robert Wayne Pearce – The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. Reviews on Google | AV® Preeminent Rating – Martindale-Hubbell Attorney Robert Wayne Pearce is a well-respected advocate for investors throughout the legal community; he is known for his fierce litigation skills and tireless advocacy on behalf of his clients. With over 40 years of first-hand experience with investment disputes in Florida, nationwide, and internationally, Mr. Pearce is one of the most experienced Investment Fraud Lawyers nationwide. Attorney Pearce has tried over 100 cases to trial verdict or arbitration award and only lost 4 cases for investors in his career. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has represented thousands of investors in securities arbitration cases and has been successful in recovering more than $160 Million on behalf of our clients. Our most significant case was College Health & Investment Ltd. v Esther Spero, where we obtained $21 million for our client as a result of investment fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and civil theft. Mr. Pearce has also been AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest available rating through that program. If you have suffered investment losses due to fraud, misrepresentation, or any other type of securities misconduct, we welcome you to contact our office for a free consultation. II. Lloyd Schwed – Schwed Kahle & Kress, P.A. AV® Preeminent Rating – Martindale-Hubbell Attorney Lloyd Schwed is a founding partner of Schwed Kahle & Kress, P.A., where he has practiced law for more than 45 years. Since 2005, Mr. Schwed has obtained the prestigious AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which signifies “very high” ethical standards, trustworthiness and diligence, as well as “very high to preeminent” legal aptitude. Mr. Scweb received the AV® Preeminent Rating in 2011, which is the Highest Possible Rating that must be met for both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards. One of Mr. Scwed’s most notable cases is Gomez v. UBS Financial Services Inc. in which he recovered $18.2 million for his clients. This case was one of the biggest FINRA awards in the past 10 years. We have worked directly with Lloyd Schwed and his legal team and can attest to his experience, knowledge, and dedication to fighting for the rights of investors who have been victimized by securities fraud. III. Carl Schoeppl – Schoeppl Law, P.A. Peer Reviewed – Martindale-Hubbell Attorney Carl Schoeppl is the Managing Shareholder of the Law Firm of Schoeppl Law, P.A. and is one of the top investment fraud lawyers in the country. Mr. Schoeppl used to work as a senior federal prosecutor for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), under the Enforcement Division. Over the past several years, Mr. Schoeppl has been appointed to act as a receiver in complex investment fraud cases initiated by both the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Mr. Schoeppl and his legal team have been instrumental in obtaining millions of dollars for investors and customers in receivership litigation cases. A receiver is a court-appointed official who is tasked with taking control of assets and affairs of a company or individual in order to protect the interests of investors, creditors, and other stakeholders. We have referred cases to Mr. Schoeppl...

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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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Can a Broker Sell My Stocks Without My 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 a 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 a 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 (800) 732-2889 to speak with an stockbroker fraud lawyer.

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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...

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