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.

Madoff Fraud hit out of the ball field and into the courtroom

February 16, 2011

In a fight for his team NY METS Owner, Fred Wilpon, may have to seek additional funding for the New York baseball team. The major securities fraud case against Madoff may have seen some of the money taken from fraud victims by Madof’s enterprise filtered into the Mets baseball team. Wilson’s money may be tied up in court as part of the Madoff litigation suit. Some report that the team owners should have known the fraud was occurring as the owners were more than likely aware that Madoff was not in the business of trading. The team owners were named as part of the litigation filed by New York attorney, Irving Picard, the bankruptcy trustee representing the victims of the Madof fraud. Irving alleges the team owners cashed out more than they put in, and called them “net winners” therefore, they should have to release some of the funds as part of the recovery in the suit.
Stock broker fraud can be misrepresentation of the risk associated with an investment to theft of your savings. South Florida has seen stock brokers misdeeds from churning to inappropriate investments of the savings of investors here in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.
If you believe your South Florida stock broker has committed a fraud contact a Florida securities fraud attorney for a consultation.

More Securities Law Fraud from Countrywide Financial…. in trouble again?

February 13, 2011

Last year, executive Angelo R. Mozillo of Countrywide Financial Corp. was fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission in one of many suits involving allegations that Countrywide borrowers and investors. The securities law fraud allegedly concerns the risks of lending. The fine mislead or misrepresented was in the amount of $22.5 million dollars, the largest ever imposed on an individual for a case involving misrepresentations to shareholders. The securities fraud laws extend not only for stock broker fraud but for other frauds committed on investors, many of whom are here in Fort Lauderdale, Aventura, Miami and Boca Raton.

Countrywide was recently accused of predatory lending and has settled to pay a $6.5 million dollars in California courts. The State of California as one of the top 10 states in the foreclosure crisis will create a fund with $5.2 million dollars of the money for the relief of troubled homeowners. The fund created for the homeowners will be used to educate them and assist other agencies statewide in prosecuting mortgage fraud. The remaining amount will pay for the costs of the investigation and attorneys fees. Hopefully this lesson will curve the lenders ideas of predatory lending and get some other lenders to see the most needed reconsideration or modification of many of the loans they created that contribute to the foreclosure crisis in many states.

If you believe your investment advisor, financial advisor or stock broker has committed a fraud contact a South Florida securities fraud lawyer or law firm. Attorneys in South Florida who practice in the field of stock broker fraud and stock broker misdeeds are very capable and will be pleased to give you the time for a consultation about any stock broker fraud that may have been committed on you.

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.

FINRA Orders Schwab to Pay $18,000,000 for Marketing YeildPlus Bond Fund

February 6, 2011

Recently the arbitration process at FINRA resolved a dispute alleging misdeeds by Schwab in the marketing of its YieldPlus short-term bond fund. Some investors in South Florida who had their brokerage account in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach wire houses were included in the Fair Fund award.
The allegations are that Schwab make inaccurate statements or omissions of material information about the fund. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was the moving party (plaintiff) in the FINRA arbitration which resolved in 2011. Many retirees in Boca Raton and Aventura had made investments in the fund and would be included in the recovery. If your investment advisor or South Florida Stock Broker had you money invested in this vehicle (The Schwab YieldPlus Bond Fund) contact a South Florida Securities Fraud attorney and ask about your possible recovery in the Fair Fund award. Some of South Florida’s most prominent and respected Securities Fraud and Stock Broker Fraud lawyers were either involved in the action in assisting the SEC or had their client’s included in the recovery. The findings by FINRA were that between Sept 2006 and Feb 2008 Schwab sold of $13.75 billion dollars in shares in the YieldPlus Fund to customers. If you had an account in a South Florida securities dealer (over 98% of Schwab customers invested in ultra short-term bond funds, 40% of whom were under forty years of age) contact a securities fraud lawyer and ask about the FINRA arbitration award.

UBS loss again in FINRA arbitration over “Principal Protect Notes” again…. (7th so far)

January 22, 2011

In the latest of an increasing line of cases lost by UBS a FINRA arbitration panel awarded $2.2 million dollars for losses in funds known as “principal protected” securities. These investment vehicles were originally created by Lehman Brothers and are basically a combination of derivatives and fixed income or equities that are ‘supposed’ to provide fixed income and an upside of growth in equities. Sounds like the best of both worlds, as it turns out it is in the world of darkness, not light. Many low-risk investors (retirees mostly in Boca Raton and South Florida) sought these investments from their brokers here in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. Now, again, FINRA awarded money against stock brokers who marketed these investments for preservation of capital with a good yield and equity growth potential. If you believe your investments contain these products contact a South Florida Securities Fraud lawyer for a review of your portfolio. The telltale signs are entries in your monthly statements indicating that you own Lehman Brother products listed as “LB 100% PPN”. For a list of other south Florida securities fraud lawyers in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach contact attorney Ralph Behr for a list of other lawyers also practicing in the field of securities fraud. Start with a list of lawyers practicing in this area and begin the process of finding one that is right for your needs.

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!

FINRA arbitrations posted on the internet

January 18, 2011

Since 1987 everyone who signs a customer agreement with a wire house or stock brokerage firm in the United States agrees to submit any broker disputes to arbitration. The United States Supreme Court as recently as 2008 effectively put the final nails into the coffin of federal court relief. Saying that unless the arbitrators were panel of "monkeys” ... you live and die by the arbitration panel’s decisions. Arbitration for claims of less than $25,000 is submitted in writing, and there are no hearings. A claim for over $25,000 will put you in front of a three person arbitration panel. The arbitration process is not a formal process and it does not invoke the federal rules of evidence. In selecting your arbitrators be very mindful of their backgrounds: if you select a retired judge you know it'll be by the book of federal evidence. If you agree to have an arbitrator who is a former stockbroker, well that's something we should discuss. If you feel you have been the victim of a stockbroker misdeeds, fraud or inappropriate investments, and you have suffered losses, contact a South Florida securities lawyer for a review of your claim. Most federal securities fraud lawyers in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida will sit and talk with you for no fee and review your claim. FINRA has a very extensive and excellent website which you should put on your browser. One of the buttons will need you to pages where the results of arbitration, awards and denials are posted: the you can check for names of people you deal with or know.

$118 Million in "I'm sorry" from Charles Schwab

January 16, 2011

Charles Schwab agreed to pay the SEC $118 million to settle securities and fraud charges arising from its sale of its “YieldPlus” branded funds. The settlement requires a total payment of $118 million into a "fair fund": a pool of money which will be made available to reimburse investors who can prove that they were harmed due to being drawn into this investment vehicle. FINRA , quite proudly, issued a press release in which they said 17.5 million dollars of the money was the amount of fees Swab collected on the fund, plus a $500,000 fine. Charles Schwab, as we understand: between September 2006 and February 2008 sold over $13.75 billion in it’s “YieldPlus” fund to customers. This finding was that during the existence of the fund things changed in the underlying mortgage-backed securities market but Charles Schwab did not change its marketing information. Failure to properly advise their clients about the risks, which were known, constitutes the fraud for which Charles Schwab agreed to pay. During the life of the fund Charles Schwab never changed their selling material didn't take sufficient actions to have their brokers advise investors of the underlying changes in the risk of owning mortgage-backed securities. “YieldPlus” was marketed as a low risk investments which was characterized as such. Lesson to be learned: review your investments on an ongoing basis. How? Ask….what’s new in the bond market? What’s new in the municipals markets? How are my investments looking today as opposed to when we bought them? Take the time so you won’t see me professionally. Problems avoided are better than problems which can wreck your retirement..yes? yes! If, sadly, it is too late, then call me for a free consultation.