Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing investors
who have been victimized by members of the financial services industry is understanding that they have the right to recover in the first place. Do you know your investor rights? Many people who have lost money through improper investments feel embarrassed and partially if not totally at fault despite the fact that they trusted their financial advisors to render proper expert advice. They fail to recognize that the fault may lie with the financial advisor or the institution employing the advisor.
Investment advisors, stockbrokers and brokerage firms are regulated by rules and laws that exist to protect public investors. These rules and laws provide an avenue for investors to recover losses caused by a stockbroker’s wrongdoing. When you pay a stockbroker to manage your assets or otherwise provide investment advice, he or she in turn must ensure that the advice is appropriate for your particular circumstances.
For example, if you are a person nearing retirement with a low risk tolerance, your portfolio should be diverse and have a healthy percentage of its assets in bonds/income investments and, a much lower portion of its assets in equities, that is, stocks. If your stockbroker failed to recommend or purchase suitable investments for your portfolio, and your portfolio lost money, then you would have the right to recover those losses from your stockbroker and brokerage firm, irrespective of market conditions. That is, if the stock market is going down and so is your portfolio, you can recover if you should not have been invested that way in the first place.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has established a procedure for the resolution of investors’ disputes through FINRA sponsored arbitration. Accordingly, investors are required by brokerage firms to sign an arbitration clause in order to open an account. This arbitration process provides investors the opportunity to present their claims before a mutually selected panel of arbitrators whose decision will, absent extraordinary circumstances, be binding on the parties.
Therefore, if you believe you may have been the victim of an unscrupulous broker, you should consult with attorneys with experience in securities fraud and FINRA arbitration as soon as possible to learn about your specific rights. We do no charge any legal fee to determine whether or not you have a claim. If you do have a claim, typically our firm handles such matters on a contingency basis, meaning that there will be no legal fees charged unless there is a recovery achieved in the case.