November 22, 2011

In today’s market, people in Boca Raton, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and other states alike, are very worried about hedge funds and the distortions they cause in the stock market. Some look like well-known pyramid schemes, some are players, some bring investment savvy and others are pure risk-takers. Why? Because when we hear a story about hedge funds it’s usually about some scam that was run by a hedge fund CEO that succeeded in swindling investors out of lots of money.

While hedge funds trade long some markets and short others, frequently, they can be marginalized and margin murdered when larger forces move. Think about sovereign funds, Greece, Oil pipelines and oil traders. No hedge fund is large enough to put market risk aside and get major returns. With the current securities and stock market ups and downs, bond fears and interest jumps, every investment and every trade matters. The Securities and Exchange Commission may feel the same way, as they voted unanimously in November 2011 to approve final guidelines for the supervising of hedge funds. With this decision and regulatory oversight and involvement will come many questions of hedge funds and investor funds. The costs of more oversight and compliance will work and prove their worth.

Banks in Miami - Dade, Broward and Palm Beach are increasing holding and transactions fees and some are leveraging their own funds in speculative risks through hedge funds. Before you jump and change investment groups, always investigate the stockbroker’s group or the firm environment. Consult a South Florida securities attorney and determine if the risk you are taking in your account is your only exposure. .

Will FINRA or the SEC help me if I've been the victim of broker fraud?

October 20, 2011

The securities industry, through its lobbying efforts, has succeeded in creating a wall between broker misconduct and recovery by federal agency action: the SEC and FINRA will not and administratively cannot help you recover from a claim of fraud by your stockbroker. The result is that the federal agencies charged with regulating the securities industry does not and will not recover losses by investors in 99% of the claims. If you complain to the SEC, and the complaint has merit, it will open an investigation. The ultimate result of an SEC investigation may be an enforcement proceeding or fine imposed on the financial advisor or the brokerage house. The SEC will not recover losses for individuals, it will only impose fines, with a few exceptions that for your purposes means the agencies might as well not exist if you claim broker fraud, most claims of broker mis-conduct such as placing your money into investments that are not proper for your investment goals, excessive risk, and most of the abuses we find brokers committing on their clients.

The SEC receives around 50,000 complaints every year. The SEC takes action on lesson 100 complaints every year. FINRA receives about 5000 complaints a year. And like the SEC takes action on only a few hundred. These actions may result in broker discipline or the filing of charges against the brokerage house. It will not resolve with a recovery for the losses of an individual investor. Recovering losses is not designated as a governmental function in the United States. Recovery of losses due to stockbroker fraud is done through the arbitration process or in some special cases permitted lawsuits in federal court.

Security fraud lawyers in South Florida, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, will appear before the securities regulating agencies to press for losses incurred by their clients. If you open a trading account in any stockbroker firm and he subsequently believe you have a claim for broker fraud or misconduct: your only recourse is arbitration. Securities fraud lawyers deal primarily in representing victims of financial advisors.

Ameriprise Sued by It’s Own Financial Planners

October 19, 2011

Ameriprise, the financial services giant, an organization which employs more certified financial planners than any other entity in United States, was sued by six people; including one current employee. The accusation in the suit suggests that Ameriprise has been overweighting its own expensive mutual funds, which have been performing below-market, into its own 401(k) plans. The financial services press has been billing this as a frustration for Ameriprise because its own mutual funds have been highlighted as poor performers which it is forcing on its own financial planners. One of the charts produced in the press, shows fees are 3 to 5 times higher than at other competing funds, such as Vanguard. If you feel that your stockbroker or financial planner has been infusing your investment portfolio with inappropriate investments contact a South Florida securities fraud attorney. Most security fraud lawyers in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and Miami, can, with a quick office visit, look at your monthly statements and give you a fair evaluation of which investments are appropriate for your risk tolerance. This type of review is especially important for those of us who are in our retirement years and rely on our investments for income to support our daily lives.

What duty does a Stockbroker owe to his/her Client?

October 18, 2011

All stockbrokers are regulated by FINRA, which licenses and disciplines both stockbrokers and the brokerage firms that they work for. These federal securities laws and rules concern themselves with the suitability of security transactions for each individual customer. Stockbrokers must have a reasonable basis for any recommendation for the purchase or sale of any securities. The rules do not create any presumption that a transaction is appropriate, but each individual transaction must be suitable for the investor and their risk tolerance. The rules concerning transactions with customers, which regulate stockbrokers in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach, require both transparency and justification for any recommendation or transaction. Your stockbroker, if he or she is in a nation franchise, or recognized traditional Wall Street brokerage house, is supervised both by the stock broker office manager and the compliance department. Regulations concerning transactions advised or performed at the request of investors are always subject to review. If you feel that you have been placed in an inappropriate high risk investment, contact a South Florida securities lawyer. FINRA has offices in South Florida, Boca Raton, where they undertake and conduct arbitrations. If you feel you have been victimized by stockbroker. If you believe that you are in a high risk and inappropriate investment due to stockbroker advice. If you feel you've been victimized by stockbroker fraud call a South Florida securities law firm and get a free consultation about your remedies available through arbitration.

How to Win a Claim against Your Broker

July 7, 2011

Don’t tell anyone, but it’s all in the paperwork. Remember when you signed up with that superstar? Remember the forms? Where are they? Did you keep them?
When I speak with clients the mantra is save your paperwork. Here’s why…..when you signed up with your “top” broker you filled out some forms about your risk tolerance. Risk tolerance? Yep! And when you file a FINRA claim against your fallen “superstar” over some Estonian CDO Hedge Fund that went long on Madoff notes….you want to parade in front of the FINRA arbitrators your risk tolerance as very low. If you don’t have your intake forms where are they? Your rising “star” has it in his computer and will promptly buy a new hard drive when you file with FINRA. So, here’s the deal…here’s what to do:
Call your “brilliant” broker’s Sales Assistant today, not tomorrow, and tell him/her you are re-building your paper files and need a copy of the original intake forms you signed. Get it today, before the market dips and you sing a chorus of the hobo broke blues. If you don’t you’ll be with the other 30,000,000 out of work and broke Americans who are living la dolce vita life on unemployment checks….for sixteen weeks…..then to the Church commissary for some canned vegetables. Get your paperwork today and I’ll greet you in my office with the good news that the claim was settled and here’s your check.

Statistics Don’t Lie/Liars Use Statistics: FINRA published numbers

February 22, 2011

FINRA has some interesting numbers to share: you can decide what it means: Investor Complaints for 2006: 5,671 and for 2010: 3,208. What that means is that complaints of broker fraud, broker abuse, and broker misdeeds go up and down with the market. In 2009 there were 5,067 and then in 2010 3,208. Does that mean that stock brokers are not abusing client funds? Or does it mean something else? A rising tide lifts all boats or, like doctors who bury their mistakes in graveyards, brokers who churn client funds or place them in high risk investments don’t get complaints because the client is making money. No touch no foul in a rising market means there’s a lot of misdeeds that will surface when the market “corrects”. If, when, the market drops most of you will be searching on your statements for broker fraud, don’t bother: call a South Florida stock broker fraud lawyer and ask him or her to look over your statements. Not all stock broker corrupt acts appear on your statement, like a good criminal they try to cover their tracks. I’ve been on their track since 1976 and I have a good nose, so you should call for a free consultation. Another interesting FINRA statistic is over 70% of arbitration claims resolve with an award for the claimant. So if you believe you have been the victim of stock broker fraud, or you’ve been placed in investments that are high risk (example: a retiree who owns CDOs or IPO’s) then call a stock broker fraud lawyer here in Florida.

FINRA publishes a “guide” for interpreting an Analyst’s advice

February 21, 2011

Confused by analysts terms? What is a “buy” recommendation as opposed to a “strong buy” or… what does “neutral” mean as opposed to “hold”…or “trading buy”…? “Strong buy”… “Hold”? Confusing and often useless but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is another tunneling light from FINRA. If you want to learn about what different advisory terms means FINRA can help your confusion. There is a FINRA online page that calls itself a “Guide to Understanding Security Analyst Recommendations” on FINRA’s website.
If your South Florida Stock Broker has send you some advice on what to buy and what not to buy it is useful to call him/her back with FINRA’s guide in front of you. The most often complaint filed for arbitration by South Florida Stock Broker Fraud attorneys is a complaint that the investment a stock broker suggested was out of the acceptable risk profile of the investor. As a stock broker fraud attorney here in South Florida it all starts with that: was the investment appropriate for your risk tolerance? If you feel your have been victimized by a financial advisor or Stock Broker here in South Florida, Boca Raton, or Miami, call a qualified South Florida Stock Broker fraud attorney: if you need a list I can send you some of the names of others in the field. Call for a consultation if you feel your investments have gone down because of broker fraud, broker mismanagement, or broker miss-advice. FINRA arbitrations exist to help compensate those victims of stock broker fraud. By FINRA’s own statement: fully over 70% of FINRA arbitrations result in a favorable award to the claimant.

South Florida Securities Fraudsters can Teach Asheville about Crooked Business

February 10, 2011

An interesting Securities Fraud in Asheville looks like a day in the office for South Florida Securities Fraud attorneys….a “ businessman” was charged in a Ponzi scheme in which he allegedly cheated investors of over $13 million dollars. He is charged with securities fraud, because he did not have any type of FINRA license to trade securities. Additional federal criminal charges of mail fraud and wire fraud stem from his involvement in the mishandling of IRA’s, and assets of his investors. If you believe your stock broker has committed a fraud with your investments here in Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale call your South Florida Securities Fraud lawyer for a consultation.
The stock broker fraud was committed allegedly by a James W. “Bill” Bailey Jr.,and others (unnamed here) as one of the many persons under investigation for defrauding investors, creating false documents that reflected falsified gains, and misleading his investors. Adding to the foreclosure crisis, Bailey purchased multiple properties in several northeastern states with the investor’s monies causing foreclosure chain reactions of tying up lenders and properties as a result of this elaborate scheme. As if the housing market needed any more help is the current foreclosure crisis? Stock broker fraud comes in many flavors from churning accounts to concentrated investments and inappropriate investments of client’s savings. If you have a question about your stock broker’s deeds, or misdeeds, contact a Florida securities fraud lawyer here in Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Miami and Boca Raton.

Broker liability is based on a duty…but who defines the word “duty”?

February 8, 2011

When a stock broker is accused of fraud, misdeeds, abuse, or any act which can justify a FINRA arbitration claim: who defines what is a breach of the duty a financial advisor owes a client? The question is always leading and the answer is always just one case away. The SEC recently reported that over 11,000 registered investment advisors don’t have the resources or back-up support to adequately meet the standard of care. The report and a recently released FINRA report clearly intends to raise the bar and in effect create more liability for stock brokers to their clients. Stock broker fraud involves the misrepresentation of the risk or the nature of the investment vehicle. But when is the stock brokers’ fee part of the equation? When is it important for an investment decision to be made knowing the stock broker’s fee? Is it relevant? Financial advisors are paid professionals, and provide a service that some investors suggest is without cost, but is it? Increasingly FINRA arbitrations in South Florida (Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale) involve south Florida securities fraud lawyers litigating in FINRA arbitrations whether a financial advisor has breached his duty. If you feel you have been mistreated by your stock broker take your questions to a South Florida securities law or “stockbroker fraud” lawyer here in
Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Only an informed opinion can help you understand if your claim has merit or not.

Nicking Nuns a No-No…or as we already know, there are few stockbrokers in Heaven

January 20, 2011

Sodom on the Hudson hit a new low when the SEC announced it settled charges that a broker in New York allegedly defrauded congregations of Nuns from The Bronx, New York. Sad but true…one less stockbroker gets to go to heaven. South Florida securities fraud lawyers have seen a lot here in Broward and Miami, but this deserves a trip to Church for redemption of our souls, not redemption of coupons. According to the SEC press release the Sisters of Charity (not the same as we have here in Fort Lauderdale) had one account for money for the care of the nuns assisted living facility. The account was allegedly churned by the broker who agreed to a settlement with the SEC. You don’t have to be a nun to be nun-to-poorly treated by your stockbroker. If you live in South Florida and have a brokerage account with a local Financial Advisor (for example Boca Raton, Miami, West Palm Beach) and you believe you have been placed in an inappropriate investment, or your broker has ignored your instructions or traded with your account without approval: contact a South Florida Securities fraud lawyer and ask for a consult. Most lawyers, who work in the field of stockbroker fraud here in Fort Lauderdale, will be pleased to spend the time to discuss and answer your questions. It’s nun-to-soon to ask a question about stockbroker fraud, so pick up your phone and ring us up!

Florida Money Manager Hits the News

November 11, 2010

It's never too late to start all over... That's the good news for Florida residents because a 77year-old Florida resident was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for allegedly cheating investors out of more than $168 million. Our near-octogenarian was also ordered to forfeit $162 million to compensate the victims of his fraud. The fraudster allegedly raised money from investors by claiming he was a successful attorney and trader. His greatest success was scheming and stealing….which he was very skillful at. Most of his victims knew him well and in fact trusted him, which is quite often the case in these situations. Being alert to fraudsters means asking the right questions of the right people. In an abundance of caution it is often a good idea to consult a securities fraud lawyer before entering into a major financial transaction which could put your assets at risk. Hindsight is not insight. Seeing ahead, around corners, is what experience means: your South Florida securities fraud lawyer on a daily basis lives and breathes among the work of these fraudsters. Especially in Florida, where we've seen these things again and again. If you have a question about a financial transaction, or you're concerned that your financial advisor may be acting in his interest ahead of yours, call for a free consultation. It's always better to have a story about the near miss them to try to recover from a total loss.

Pre-Pay your Rolls Royce lease or turn it In: change is a’comin!

October 30, 2010

Deer hunters know that the last day to see a four-pointer is the day before season opens. Rumors persist that deers shill for licenses to know opening day. And the best indicator of a falling stock market is the stiring of Securities Fraud Chartists, put down your charts. Counting dead-headed trucks? El Nino? Burpee seed catalogs? Forget it!! The penultimate, most reliable and proven indicator of the stock market are the bottom feeders we all love to hate, but keep on our speed dialers….Stock Broker Fraud Lawyers! Yes, they have cancelled their ski chalet reservations, sped up their divorces, and stoked their advertising budgets…the stock market's next quarter has been revealed! In the past month those practitioners who feast on market losses (claims by abused investors) have come alive. We are taking on staff, renting bigger offices and pricing those big Benz’s because we know that when the market falls our phones start ringing. Next Spring I will post my color selection of 2011 Bentley’s purchased by the misdeeds of today’s hottest stock brokers….soon to be your villain of focus. What to do? Start reading up on stock broker fraud lawyers so you have someone to call when you see your March 2011 statement. I’m not gloating; I’ve just been here since 1976.