On July 9, 2012, two new FINRA rules are supposed to take effect: Rule 2090 (“know-your customer”) and Rule 2111 (“suitability rule”).  The know-your-customer and suitability rules are probably the second and third most important self-regulatory rules governing the conduct of stockbrokers. (The MOST important rule is the unwritten “prime directive” – keep selling, boys

State governments generally have separate departments regulating securities and insurance. An article by Bruce Kelly in Investment News reminds us that when stockbrokers get tossed out of the securities industry for fraud or other sales abuses, they often keep their insurance licenses.  This means that the agent selling you life insurance or annuities may be a crocodile

A few years ago, we had a lot of cases involving an investment disguised and regulated as an insurance product: the “equity indexed annuity,” or EIA. We don’t hear much these days about equity indexed annuities. Why? Because the product was so justly maligned that the insurance industry decided to re-brand it to make it

Wall Street has a penchant for taking relatively simple products and molding them into complex portfolio killers. Witness the mutation of exchange traded funds or ETFs. Their scary offspring?  Little monsters known as leveraged and inverse ETFs. In their simple form, ETFs are usually registered investment companies whose shares represent an interest in a portfolio of securities that track an underlying

Attorneys Hugh Berkson and Joe Peiffer announce that Securities America has agreed to pay $150 million dollars to settle a class action lawsuit. This agreement came after a federal judge rejected a $21 million dollar proposal last month. The victims lost a total of $400 million in this scheme.

A federal judge rejected a 21 million dollar settlement against Securities America. The lead plaintiff’s attorney in the class action lawsuit wanted the deal to go through as he felt it best for the defrauded investors. Hugh Berkson disagreed, believing that Securities America could pay more to victims of their fraud.

Lawsuits filed against Securities America claim fraud for its lack of risk disclosure with regard to the sale of $700 million dollars in private-placement Medical Capital notes. Massachusetts regulators challenge Securities America’s assertion that it was Medical Capital’s responsibility to disclose risk issues. Attorney Jay Salamon, quoted in article above, calls Securities America’s position preposterous.

An author maintains that while financial fraud claims increase during poor economic times this doesn’t mean that more fraud is occurring. Hugh Berkson challenged that assertion, explaining that financial salespeople may seek out less beneficial and even fraudulent products to sell to maintain their own revenue streams.

The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) withdrew a proposed amendment to the arbitration code that would have allowed panels to dismiss claims prior to a full hearing. Investor plaintiffs’ attorneys successfully challenged the amendment. Attorney Hugh Berkson explains, in the article, that his clients are often required to participate in arbitration and deserve to