WE ARE FINRA REGISTRATION, EXAMINATION, INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT DEFENSE LAWYERS
Attorney Pearce has helped firms and individuals with FINRA registration issues and the defense of FINRA investigations, examinations and enforcement proceedings, including appeals, nationwide for over 40 years from offices located throughout South Florida. These are serious matter, as disciplinary actions resulting from these investigations and examinations can have a significant impact on any registered “member” and “associate member” career. Sanctions for violations of industry rules and regulations or federal or state securities laws may result in: a censure, substantial fines, orders to repay customers (restitution) for their losses, suspensions and permanent lifetime bars from association with any FINRA broker-dealer. The issues in these investigations, examinations and disciplinary proceedings are very rule-intensive and can involve the minutiae of the securities industry. This is a unique forum where the deck is stacked against the “member” and “associated persons,” so experience is critical to your success. Do not jeopardize your career with inexperienced counsel in securities industry regulatory matters.
WE ARE EXPERIENCED FINRA DEFENSE LAWYERS WHO SOLVE REGISTRATION PROBLEMS
All broker-dealers and their sales representatives in the United States are required to be registered (licensed) before they may do any securities business with the public. It can be difficult to register broker-dealers and individual representatives when those companies and individuals have had
Prior customer complaints, disciplinary actions, bankruptcies and other black marks on their record. Inadvertent nondisclosure of prior incidents could end the registration process or slow it down for many months. Early intervention and assistance by experienced counsel with this state agency could result in an expeditious resolution of your particular registration problem. We know from prior experience how to work with them to get the job done quickly and economically.
WE CAN HELP YOU AVOID THE PITFALLS OF THE FINRA EXAMINATION
FINRA regularly conducts examinations of its members main and branch offices. The routine examinations, which are generally announced, involve inspections of the firm’s financial, operational and sales practice compliance program. It also conducts surprise “cause” examinations triggered by arbitration referrals, its surveillance program, whistleblower tips and referrals from other regulators which can be more problematic. Generally, the larger brokerages have their own attorneys and/or compliance officers on staff to handle these routine or surprise examinations and inspections. We represent the smaller brokerage firms and branch offices who do not have that manpower during those examinations.
FINRA INVESTIGATIONS AND ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS ARE SERIOUS AND REQUIRE SKILLED FINRA DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Although FINRA is not a government agency and cannot throw you in jail for violation of industry rules and regulations, it is a self-regulatory organization, and all broker-dealers doing business with the public are members and subject to its rules, regulations, practices and procedures,
Including disciplinary actions for violations of its rules. While these disciplinary actions are considered civil in nature (as contrasted with criminal actions), they are not necessarily conducted in a civil manner. More important, you do not have certain rights with FINRA that may exist with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or another state regulator, including the right to refuse to answer a question on the grounds that your response may tend to incriminate you as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution without consequences, including a bar from the industry pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210 for failure to cooperate with FINRA’s investigation. Our law firm is well-versed in FINRA rules, practices and procedures.
Read: Stockbroker’s Introduction To FINRA Examinations and Investigations
WHAT IS A FINRA 8210 LETTER?
FINRA generally initiates inquiries with brokerage firms and employees who are FINRA registered persons with the so-called FINRA 8210 letter. The letter advises you that FINRA is conducting an inquiry to determine whether there have been violations of the federal securities laws and industry rules and regulations. In the next paragraph, you are being requested, “Pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210,” to provide documents and/or to appear at a FINRA office to give “On-the-Record” testimony. Then you read the warning:
Under FINRA Rule 8210, you are obligated to respond to this request fully, promptly and without qualification. You are also obligated to supplement or correct any response that you later learned to have been incomplete or inaccurate. If you withhold any responsive documents or information, you must specifically identify what you are withholding and state the basis for your doing so. Any failure on your part to satisfy these obligations could expose you to sanctions, including a permanent bar from the securities industry.
This letter could have been precipitated by FINRA’s Automated Surveillance Program, your filing or a firms filing of a Form U-4 or Form U-5 (disclosing customer complaints, arrests, convictions, liens, bankruptcy, outside business activities, etc.), Whistleblower Complaints, customer complaints to FINRA’s Hotline or referrals from the SEC and other regulators.
You cannot ignore a FINRA 8210 letter, but if you do you will be automatically suspended and an enforcement proceeding will be initiated to permanently bar you from working in the securities industry. However, sometimes issues arise where compliance with the request can lead to waiver of your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. So, you need professional advice on if and how you should respond to a FINRA 8210 letter. In a published Court opinion, Federal District Court Judge Janet C. Hall wrote:
“Since 1983, Attorney Pearce has continued his specialized education by attending hundreds of hours of seminars focused on SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) investigation and enforcement proceedings and the practices and procedures of the securities and commodities industry. He has received intensive training on broker-dealer practices and procedures (both front and back office) in the OTC market and the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), the American Stock Exchange (“AMEX”), and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (“CBOE”). In short, Attorney Pearce has knowledge and skill gained over  years of specialized training on the minutiae of broker-dealer practices and procedures and SEC enforcement proceedings which could not be obtained by a competent practicing attorney through routine research or legal experience.”
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As stated above, the FINRA investigation can start with a simple customer complaint letter. The next thing you know you are trapped in your office or on the record at the FINRA offices giving testimony to FINRA examiners and attorneys who are all asking you questions in rapid-fire without the benefit of counsel. You cannot walk out of the room and refuse to answer questions because of the threats to bar you from the industry for failure to cooperate as required under FINRA Rule 8210. We are available from our Florida offices to consult with you immediately on any FINRA inquiry or compliance issue that may result in serious consequences to your career before it is too late!
Hear From Our Clients
At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we believe the ultimate barometer of our success is surpassing the expectation of our clients.
The following clients have direct knowledge of our firm's processes from the inside and experienced our fierce advocacy.
Hear From Our Clients
- “Robert Pearce is part of that unusual breed of lawyers that are able to create empathy with clients and thoroughly adopt their cause”
No half efforts here. He and his group of professionals are outstanding strategists that can execute with precise fervor and unyielding determination. Theirs is a huge wave of facts, research, precedents and preparation, that has impressed me in its thoroughness and creativity, and most importantly with the results. No stone goes unturned and no effort is ever spared. In my book, he and they are those of a very rare kind that one wants to keep for a very long time.- Ramon Flores-Esteves -
- “Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side.”
Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side. He is the consumate plaintiff's lawyer: smart. dedicated, fully able to try a case but a great negotiator in a mediation. He did a wonderful job for us, fully supporting us through the process and more than holding his own against a large national law firm.- Maurice Z. -
- "Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations."
Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations. We were able to reach a settlement that was of our complete satisfaction, all within a very smooth, professional and efficient process. Mr. Pearce is now not only our lawyer but our family friend. We highly recommend him and his team!- Severiano L. -
- "For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner."
This law firm is the real deal. We were so lucky that they took our case as they have so much experience in securities and all the wrongdoing that happens in these investment companies where they mislead you and your money (as in our case) into schemes that are not what you think they are. Mr. Robert Pearce is one of the best lawyers around, a truly professional who will fight for you and will tell you as it is all the time. We could not have gone thru this experience if it was not for all the advice, guidance and support he and all of his staff and associates brought to the game. For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner.- Astrid M. -
- "He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times."
Attorney Robert Pearce was our lawyer in a case against a Brokerage Firm and I'm witness to his ability and intelligence to deal with lawyers from the most prominent law firm in New York which was the key to recovering much of our losses cheered by their negligence. He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times.- Jose A. C. -
- "In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars."
No lawyer except Bob said I had a chance of winning. When UBS Lawyers laughingly offered me zero to settle the dispute, Bob became even more determined to prove everybody wrong. Bob was extremely prepared, and always a step ahead of the opposing attorneys throughout the arbitration. In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars.- J. Blanco -
- "Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way."
Robert's team is excellent. They are very competitive in what they do and they are very responsible. Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way. Their professionalism, responsibility and empathy assured us that we were in good hands. Recommend to everyone.- Mayra A. -