Selling Away: Definition, Examples, and How to Recover Losses

The securities industry is one of the most regulated, largely because of the high potential for fraud and abuse. Various laws and regulations protect investors by imposing requirements on securities transactions and the people who facilitate them. Individual brokers and brokerage firms must be registered and licensed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) before they are permitted to conduct securities transactions. FINRA also administers a number of exams that provide certification for selling specific kinds of securities. All of these regulations exist to protect investors from fraudulent conduct by brokers. Nevertheless, brokers occasionally attempt to skirt the rules and offer private deals to their clients. Not only do these transactions violate FINRA rules, they also pose additional risks for investors. What Is Selling Away? Selling away describes the practice of selling securities in unauthorized private transactions outside the regular scope of the broker’s business. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. Brokerage firms maintain a list of approved securities their brokers are allowed to offer. By approving products ahead of time, brokerage firms ensure that their brokers sell only securities that are vetted and verified as legitimate products. Brokers sell away when they offer their clients securities not on the firm’s approved product list. Brokers may sell away if they want to make extra commissions without sharing with their firm. Selling away is not always malicious; sometimes, a broker means well but isn’t able to offer the securities a client wants through normal channels. Regardless of the broker’s intent, however, FINRA prohibits selling away and sanctions brokers for doing so. Common Examples of Selling Away While there is no specific form a selling-away transaction takes, they frequently involve certain types of investments. These investments include: Deals that involve selling away often exhibit the same red flags as other types of investment fraud, like Ponzi schemes. Excessively high or consistent returns are indicators that the deal is probably too good to be true. What Are the Risks of Investing in Securities That Are Sold Away? Investments of all kinds carry a certain level of risk. However, investing in a selling-away deal carries more risk because they come without the safeguards that accompany approved investments. Lack of screening First, selling-away deals involve securities that are not screened by the brokerage firm. Brokerage firms screen the products they offer for a reason: to make sure that their customers have access to solid investments. Without these safeguards, investors are taking on significantly higher risk. Lack of disclosures Second, selling away deals rarely include the formal risk disclosures found with approved brokerage products. There is no review of the investment by the brokerage’s compliance department, and the exact nature of the risk involved may be unclear. Less accountability Finally, it may be harder to recover losses. When a broker engages in an approved transaction, the brokerage takes on liability for the broker’s activity. Because brokerages are often completely unaware of selling-away transactions, it is much harder to prove liability on the part of the brokerage. In the case of significant investor losses, this can mean less money recovered overall. Selling-Away FINRA Regulations There are two main FINRA regulations that cover selling away: Rule 3270 and Rule 3280.  FINRA Rule 3270 prohibits brokers from engaging in activities that are outside of the broker’s relationship with their brokerage firm unless written notice is provided to the firm.  FINRA Rule 3280 is similar, and prohibits brokers from engaging in private securities transactions (including selling away) without first providing written notice to their firm. After receiving that notice, the member firm may approve or disapprove the transaction. If the firm approves, then the firm supervises and records the transaction. Disapproval, on the other hand, prohibits the broker from participation in the transaction either directly or indirectly. What Are the Penalties for Selling Away? Both brokers and brokerage firms can be held liable when a broker sells away. FINRA regulations require brokers to offer securities products suitable for each of their client’s needs. Brokers must account for their clients’ objectives, level of investing sophistication, and risk tolerances. When a broker fails to fulfill this obligation, FINRA may sanction, suspend, or bar the broker from the financial industry. According to FINRA’s Sanctions Guidelines, Brokers who engage in selling away open themselves up to monetary sanctions between $2,500 and $77,000 for each rule violation. For serious violations, FINRA may suspend the broker for up to two years or permanently bar them from practicing as a broker. The severity of the penalty depends on several factors: Because selling away involves transactions outside of a broker’s relationship with their brokerage firm, holding the firm responsible for investor losses is more difficult. Nevertheless, a brokerage firm may still be liable for the conduct of its brokers under FINRA regulations. Brokerage firms have an obligation to supervise the brokers with which they are associated. Failure to do so may result in the firm’s liability to the investor. How Do I Recover Losses from Selling Away Deals? Investors can try to recover their losses through several formal and informal methods. Speaking with a selling away lawyer is the best way to determine which method is right for your situation. FINRA Arbitration Many brokerage firms require their customers to sign mandatory arbitration clauses. If this is the case, then the investor must use FINRA’s arbitration process rather than filing a lawsuit.  Arbitration starts when the investor files a claim. From there, the parties go through similar procedures to those in the regular court system. Each side will engage in discovery and present their case at a hearing before an arbitrator. The arbitrator is responsible for reviewing the evidence and ultimately issuing a decision and award. Contacting Your Brokerage Firm A brokerage firm’s compliance department may be interested in reaching a resolution without involving the courts. In some cases, investors recover losses from their broker’s selling away deals through mediation. FINRA provides access to informal mediation to facilitate a mutually acceptable agreement between...

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What is Securities Fraud? Definition, Examples, & How to Report

If you’ve been the victim of securities fraud, you may be able to take legal action. What is Securities Fraud? Securities fraud, also known as investment fraud or stock fraud, involves using false or misleading information to convince investors to make investment decisions that result in substantial losses. All forms of securities fraud aim to deceive investors into taking actions that benefit the perpetrator financially. 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 an investment 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 Examples 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...

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

The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. has filed another case against Ex-J.P. Morgan broker Ed Turley for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce has filed another case against J.P. Morgan Securities for alleged misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts continuing in fall 2019 and thereafter by Edward Turley (“Turley”), a former “Vice-Chairman” of J.P. Morgan. At the outset, it is important for our readers to know that our clients’ allegations have not yet been proven. IMPORTANT: We are providing information about our clients’ allegations and seeking information from other investors who did business with J.P. Morgan and Mr. Turley and had similar investments, a similar investment strategy, and a similar bad experience to help us win our clients’ case. Please contact us online via our contact form or by giving us a ring at (800) 732-2889. Latest Updates on Ed Turley – November 18, 2022 The Advisor Hub reported today that the former star broker with J.P. Morgan Advisors in San Francisco Edward Turley agreed to an industry bar rather than cooperate with FINRA’s probe of numerous allegations of excessive and unauthorized trading that resulted in more than $100 million worth of customer complaints. FINRA had initiated its investigation of Edward Turley as it related to numerous customer complaints in 2020. The regulator noted in its Acceptance Waiver and Consent Agreement (AWC) that the investors had generally alleged “sales practice violations including improper exercise of discretion and unsuitable trading.” According to Edward Turley’s BrokerCheck report, he had been fired in August 2021 for “loss of confidence concerning adherence to firm policies and brokerage order handling requirements.” On October 28th, FINRA requested Turley provide on-the-record testimony related to his trading patterns, including the “use of foreign currency and margin, and the purchasing and selling of high-yield bonds and preferred stock,” but Edward Turley through counsel declined to do so. As a result, Edward Turley violated FINRA’s Rule 8210 requiring cooperation with enforcement probes, and its catch-all Rule 2010 requiring “high standards of commercial honor,” the regulator said and he was barred permanently from the securities industry. Related Read: Can You Sue a Financial Advisor or Stockbroker Over Losses? Turley Allegedly Misrepresented And Misled Claimants About His Investment Strategy The claims arise out of Turley’s “one-size-fits-all” fixed income credit spread investment strategy involving high-yield “junk” bonds, preferred stocks, exchange traded funds (“ETFs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), and foreign bonds. Instead of purchasing those securities in ordinary margin accounts, Turley executed foreign currency transactions to raise capital and leverage clients’ accounts to earn undisclosed commissions. Turley over-leveraged and over-concentrated his best and biggest clients’ accounts, including Claimants’ accounts, in junk bonds, preferred stocks, and MLPs in the financial and energy sectors, which are notoriously illiquid and subject to sharp price declines when the financial markets become stressed as they did in March 2020. In the beginning and throughout the investment advisory relationship, Turley described his investment strategy to Claimants as one which would generate “equity returns with very low bond-type risk.” Turley and his partners also described the strategy to clients and prospects as one “which provided equity-like returns without equity-like risk.” J.P. Morgan supervisors even documented Turley’s description of the strategy as “creating portfolio with similar returns, but less volatility than an all-equity portfolio.” Note: It appears that no J.P. Morgan supervisor ever checked to see if the representations were true and if anybody did, they would have known Turley was lying and have directly participated in the scheme. The Claimants’ representative was also told Turley used leverage derived from selling foreign currencies, Yen and Euros, to get the “equity-like” returns he promised. Turley also told the investor not to be concerned because he “carefully” added leverage to enhance returns. According to Turley, the securities of the companies he invested in for clients “did not move up or down like the stock market,” so there was no need to worry about him using leverage in Claimants’ accounts and their cash would be available whenever it was needed. The Claimants’ representative was not the only client who heard this from Turley; that is, he did not own volatile stocks and not to worry about leverage. Turley did not discuss the amount of leverage he used in clients’ accounts, which ranged from 1:1 to 3:1, nor did Turley discuss the risks currency transactions added to the portfolio, margin calls or forced liquidations as a result of his investment strategy. After all, Turley knew he could get away without disclosing those risks. This was because J.P. Morgan suppressed any margin calls being sent to Turley’s clients and he liquidated securities on his own to meet those margin calls without alarming clients.  This “one-size-fits-all” strategy was a recipe for disaster. J.P. Morgan and Turley have both admitted that Turley’s investment strategy was not suitable for any investor whose liquid net worth was fully invested in the strategy. It was especially unsuitable for those customers like Claimants who had other plans for the funds in their J.P. Morgan accounts in fall 2019 and spring 2020. Unfortunately, Turley recommended and managed the “one-size-fits-all” strategy for his best clients and friends, including Claimants. Turley was Claimants’ investment advisor and portfolio manager and required under the law to serve them as a “fiduciary.” He breached his “fiduciary” duties in making misrepresentations, misleading statements, unsuitable recommendations, and mismanagement of Claimants’ accounts. The most egregious breach was his failure to take any action to protect his clients at the end of February 2020, when J.P. Morgan raised the red flags about COVID-19 and recommended defensive action be taken in clients’ accounts. Turley Allegedly Managed Claimants’ Accounts Without Written Discretionary Authority Claimants’ representative hired Turley to manage his “dry powder,” the cash in Claimants’ accounts at J.P. Morgan, which he would need on short notice when business opportunities arose. At one point, Claimants had over $100 million on deposit with J.P. Morgan. It was not...

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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 Does a Securities Lawyer Do?

The term “securities lawyer” refers to an attorney who concentrates his/her practice on assisting clients in navigating the laws and regulations that govern the purchase and sale of securities. 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.  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. 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. IMPORTANT: 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. 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...

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What are Structured Notes?

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

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Can You Sue a Brokerage Firm for Investment Losses?

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

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What is the Difference Between Solicited & Unsolicited Trades?

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

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Can I Recover My GWG L Bonds Investment Losses?

In recent news, it was reported that GWG Holdings, a Dallas, Texas-based asset manager that provides insurance services, as well as acquires life insurance policies in the secondary market, filed for bankruptcy on April 20, 2022. It is estimated that GWG Holdings has more than $2 billion in liabilities, including $1.3 billion of GWG L bonds, and has missed millions of dollars in combined interest and principal payments to investors owning the GWG L bond series. IMPORTANT: As of February 2022, GWG Holdings has failed to pay $13.6 million in payments to GWG L bondholders. These were high yield, high risk, illiquid investments that as stockbrokers should have been wary and not recommended to investors with conversative or moderate risk tolerances. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is currently investigating claims against stockbrokers related to recommendations to purchase GWG Holdings L bonds (“GWG L bonds”) and is offering free consultations to those who have suffered GWG L bond losses. If you have suffered GWG L bond investment losses, our experienced securities litigation attorneys are prepared to discuss the matter and provide their legal opinion as to whether you can recover damages against the broker-dealer who recommended and sold you GWG L bonds. Please contact our law firm at 561-338-0037 or online for a free consultation. What are GWG L Bonds? In 2012, GWG Holdings created and has since sold nearly $2 billion in GWG L bonds to investors. These high-yield bonds were unrated and illiquid investments and therefore, unsuitable for investors with conservative or moderate risk tolerances. Need Legal Help? Let’s talk. or, give us a ring at 561-338-0037. GWG Holdings issued the GWG L bonds to raise capital to purchase an individual life insurance policyholder seeking liquidity or cash by selling his/her life insurance policy to GWG Holdings for more than the surrender value but substantially less than the policy’s face value. GWG Holdings would then make the premium payments and hope to receive a payout worth greater than what it paid for the policy after the original policy matures or the policyholder passes away. The subject GWG L bonds were created to finance these life insurance policy purchases by GWG Holdings.  The problem for investors was the GWG L bond investments depended on insurance policy premiums and benefits being paid out according to assumptions and statistical models, thus making them speculative investments for investors seeking income and protection of their capital. Further, GWG L bonds had no secondary market, which prevented investors from liquidating should they need the cash immediately. In other words, money used to purchase GWG L bonds was essentially trapped from the moment of purchase. Moreover, the only collateral supposedly backing GWG Holdings are interests in GWG subsidiary companies that purportedly owned real assets, including the insurance policies. Don’t Be Discouraged by GWG Holdings’ Bankruptcy  As early as April 2022, news sources reported that GWG Holdings was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. However, this news should not stop investors from seeking the opinion of a skilled and experienced securities attorney and getting just compensation. Broker-dealers and their agents who misrepresented and/or made unsuitable recommendations as to the GWG L bonds may still be held liable for losses in investor accounts. In other words, an account holder can still file a FINRA arbitration against the broker-dealer to recover losses in GWG L bonds for misrepresentations, unsuitable recommendations, failure to conduct adequate due diligence, negligence, etc. You should not let your broker-dealer or broker/financial advisor convince you otherwise. Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. Recovers Investment Losses The attorneys at Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. are experienced in litigating high-yield and speculative fixed-income instrument securities loss cases. For over 40 years we have represented investors in arbitration and securities litigation matters, including FINRA arbitration proceedings in nearly every state. Contact us now at 561-338-0037 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.  GWB L Bonds Were Sold for High Commissions! According to GWG Holdings, the GWG L bonds were sold by Emerson Equity, the managing broker-dealer, which partnered with other brokerage firms that also sold the L bonds to their retail customers. The commissions on such sales by the brokerage firms were as high as 8%. The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. suspects that many other broker-dealers were involved in the recommendation and sale of the GWG L bonds to their customers. Some of the firms alleged to have sold L bonds to their customers include: Aegis Capital Ages Financial Services Allied Beacon Partners American Trust Investment Services Arete Wealth Management Ausdal Financial Planers Cabot Lodge Securities Capital Investment Group Centaurus Financial, Inc. Center Street Securities Coastal Equities Dempsey Lord Smith Emerson Equity Great Point Capital IFP Securities International Assets Advisory Intervest International Equities Corporation Kingswood Capital Partners Landolt Securities Lifemark Securities Lion Street Financial Malone Securities Moloney Securities M Stevens Securities National Securities National Securities Corporation Newbridge Securities NI Advisors (Stiba Wealth Management) Strategic Financial Partners SW Financial The Fig Group Titan Securities TRL Capital Corporation Western international securities, Inc. Westmark Capital If the name of your broker-dealer does not appear on the list above, do not be alarmed. Rather, call us at 561-338–0037 or contact us online for free consultation to discuss whether you may have a claim to recover damages. Recover Your GWG L Bond Investment Losses in a FINRA Arbitration The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. is prepared to help investors who have sustained damages or monetary losses not only in GWG L bonds but other investments in your account in FINRA arbitration. If you were one of those investors who have suffered losses, you should seek the immediate advice of an experienced investment fraud attorney with more than 40 years of experience representing investors in investment fraud and broker-dealer negligence cases. It is imperative that you seek our consultation as soon as possible, as there are applicable eligibility rule and/or statutes of limitation that may forever bar your claim against the broker-dealer who...

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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 or broker 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 or stockbroker. 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 experienced investment loss 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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