We’re seeing a disturbing trend of financial advisers borrowing money from their own clients — a prohibited practice in the investment industry.  Notwithstanding their claimed financial expertise, many brokers and investment advisers seem to run into personal money problems.  Some turn to their clients for a way out. The adviser’s pitch usually goes something like

InvestmentNews, an influential source of news, analysis, and information concerning the financial advisory community, has published a March 17, 2018 editorial that strongly urges the adoption of an idea for protecting investors who win arbitration awards against brokerage firms but are unable to collect because the firm is uninsured and goes out of business.  And, the

As you cruise around our website, you’re likely to see references to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, more commonly known by the acronym “FINRA”. If you don’t know what FINRA is and what it does, here’s a brief explanation. About FINRA FINRA is a private corporation that regulates brokerage firms and helps to oversee stock

When stockbrokers who commit fraud or other sales abuses are barred from working in the securities industry, they often keep their insurance licenses. This occurs because state governments generally have separate departments regulating securities and insurance.  This means that the insurance agent who wants to sell you variable life insurance or annuities may be a bad broker who,

A stockbroker is not permitted to indiscriminately sell any available investment product to any customer he or she chooses, nor may a broker follow a “one-size-fits-all” sales strategy. Such activities are forbidden by what is generally known as the “suitability rule.” The rule dictates that brokers’ recommendations to buy, sell,  or hold securities or to

An article in Barron’s last week entitled “The Street’s Due-Process Joke” reports that investors who sue their brokers must accept an arbitration process run by officials appointed in an inscrutable manner. The author describes FINRA as a “a secretive, combative, industry-controlled, self-regulatory organization” and notes that some accuse FINRA of having a biased arbitrator pool

“Irrespective of Whether a Firm Must Meet A Suitability Or Fiduciary Standard” We always have contended in arbitrations – usually successfully – that under the common law of most states, stockbrokers are fiduciaries. Under a fiduciary standard, the broker is required to make recommendations guided solely by the best interests of the customer. But stockbrokers

As we’ve explained repeatedly on this site, every recommendation made or sales strategy employed by a brokerage firm or broker on behalf of a customer must be suitable for that customer. An unsuitable recommendation or strategy can leave the firm or broker civilly liable if the customer incurs damages. FINRA recently issued Regulatory Notice 13-31

Yesterday, we discussed an anti-investor ruling that permits Charles Schwab & Company to force its customers to waive their right to participate in class actions against Schwab. That ruling potentially could lead to such a restriction becoming an industry-wide practice. We mentioned that FINRA might choose to appeal the ruling. The word “might” no longer

In October 2011, Charles Schwab & Company informed its customers that it had amended its account agreement to prohibit customers from either bringing a class action suit against Schwab or participating as a class member in such an action. The amendments also purported to force the customer to agree that arbitrators would be precluded from