FINRA Warns about Broker Imposter Scams

A few weeks ago the securities industry watchdog, FINRA, announced that it had received reports that scam artists had been calling the public and impersonating FINRA executes. This week, FINRA warned investors about a new scam: fraudsters who impersonate brokers and financial advisors.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report: March 2019

Each month, the agency that regulates the financial industry, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), produces a detailed report that runs down all disciplinary actions recently taken against brokerage firms and brokers. We strongly encourage any investor who suspects their broker and/or broker-dealer of having lost them money on dubious terms to at least skim this report to see if you recognize any names, schemes, products, or securities.

New FINRA Rule Could Speed Up Arbitration for Senior Investors

According to FINRA’s latest statistics, all arbitration proceedings take an average of 14.2 months to close. For cases decided by an arbitration panel, the average time is 16.5 months. For those decided “on papers” — claims with no hearings — the average is 6.5 months.

Legislation Could End Mandatory Arbitration for Securities Disputes

On Friday a ranking Democratic member of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown, introduced a bill aimed at ending pre-dispute arbitration agreements that have become commonplace in business-to-consumer businesses. The bill, called the Arbitration Fairness for Consumers Act, is specifically focused on student loan and credit card contracts; however, it has enormous implications for the securities industry, in which almost every brokerage contract includes a binding arbitration clause.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report: February 2019

Each month, the agency that regulates the financial industry, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), produces a detailed report that runs down all disciplinary actions recently taken against brokerage firms and brokers. We strongly encourage any investor who suspects their broker and/or broker-dealer of having lost them money on dubious terms to at least skim this report to see if you recognize any names, schemes, products, or securities.

FINRA Bans Broker Who Sold $3.5M in Woodbridge Ponzi

In order to strengthen the message that such schemes will not be tolerated, and will be punished tot he fullest extent of the law, the financial industry watchdog agency, FINRA, has begun to look at the role of individual brokers in shoring up the Woodbridge scam. After all, Woodbridge’s success, during which it swelled to a value of over $1.2 billion at its peak, relied heavily upon an extensive network of brokers and investment professionals who sold Woodbridge promissory notes to retail investors.

SEC Takes Aim at Unregistered Advisors in New Alert

In a new alert, the SEC is seeking the help of investors to do background checks on new and existing brokers who may or may not be registered financial and investment advisors.

FINRA Could Learn From Jay-Z's Demand for Diversity in Arbitration

FINRA has recently faced similar criticism of the suspicious old, white, and male composition of its arbitrator pool. Specifically, of the more than 7,700 arbitrators available through FINRA, around 70% of them are male and most are white. While those numbers have been improving over the past few years thanks to efforts by FINRA toward reform, there is still a long way to go.

Broker-dealers May Be Responsible for Selling Away of Woodbridge

A recent judgment in FINRA arbitration for nearly a quarter of a million dollars against a broker who sold Woodbridge notes to investors has struck fear in the hearts of many firms who weren’t paying attention to their brokers over the past few years. If one firm can be held responsible for the failings of a broker, they all potentially can. And that’s a billion-dollar problem.

$1B Award by Judge in Florida-based Ponzi Scheme Litigation

In one of the largest ever investment fraud schemes in US history, a federal judge in Florida has ordered the operator of a ponzi scheme to pay $1 billion in restitution and fines. Former investors, many of whom were elderly and unsophisticated, can look forward to at least some return on their original investment in the massive ponzi scheme perpetrated by the Woodbridge Group of Companies and its former owner, Robert Shapiro.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report: January 2019

Each month, the agency that regulates the financial industry, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), produces a detailed report that runs down all disciplinary actions recently taken against brokerage firms and brokers. We strongly encourage any investor who suspects their broker and/or broker-dealer of having lost them money on dubious terms to at least skim this report to see if you recognize any names, schemes, products, or securities.

FINRA's Suitability Standard vs the SEC's "Best Interest" Standard

Over much of last year, heated debate raged within the securities industry and among some politicians about the “best interest” standard and how it should be applied to registered financial advisors and stock brokers alike. Right now, two different standard apply to the industry. Bringing them all under one standard would unify a fractured industry and give greater clarity and increased protection to investors who may be unaware of which standard they are subject to.

How to Tell You're Getting a Sound Financial Advice

Here are two things to think about when considering the quality of your financial advisor. These will give you a quick and dirty way of figuring out just how sound your financial base is, and whether you might want to consider other options.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report: December 2018

Each month, the agency that regulates the financial industry, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), produces a detailed report that runs down all disciplinary actions recently taken against brokerage firms and brokers. We strongly encourage any investor who suspects their broker and/or broker-dealer of having lost them money on dubious terms to at least skim this report to see if you recognize any names, schemes, products, or securities.

Investor Group Demands Victims Fund for When Brokers Don't Pay

As investor advocacy group, the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), announced this week, FINRA and the securities industry does not enforce payment of arbitration awards nearly. Far too many awards go unpaid, while disciplined brokers simply drop out of the industry.

What is FINRA Arbitration?

Most retail investors have never heard of FINRA, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, until they’ve lost a lot of money due to broker misconduct or investment fraud. The first time they are likely to learn about the financial industry’s watchdog is when they attempt to sue their broker in a court of law and find that they can’t.

Investor Alert: Affinity Fraud

Affinity scams are frauds that rely on affinity groups in order to perpetuate themselves, hence the name. Affinity groups are groups of people, from small to very large groups, who are affiliated based on a common interest or identity. Examples of large affinity groups include religious groups and racial minorities, ethnic groups, law enforcement personnel, members of a country club, or an alumni network.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report - November 2018

November 2018. Each month, the agency that regulates the financial industry, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), produces a detailed report that runs down all disciplinary actions recently taken against brokerage firms and brokers. We strongly encourage any investor who suspects their broker and/or broker-dealer of having lost them money on dubious terms to at least skim this report to see if you recognize any names, schemes, products, or securities.

As Madoff Drifts into the Mists of Memory, Big Fraud Is Coming Back

Once you're inside a Ponzi Scheme, it can look and feel a lot like a normal investment opportunity, especially if the scheme operator is adept at creating false investment documentation. The key is not to get draw into a Ponzi Scheme in the first place. The most common signs of these frauds are evident from the beginning - that's when you have the greatest chance of identifying them.

Ex-Wells Fargo Broker Stole $1M from Elderly Clients

According to recent information released by the securities industry watchdog, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), over his long 35 year career with major brokerage houses including Stifel and most recently Wells Fargo, former Certified Financial Planner John Gregory Schmidt formed close personal relationships with elderly and infirm clients in order to win their trust and steal their money.