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 Vet Your Broker, the Right Way

BrokerCheck is not perfect. As a recent article in Kiplinger online addressed, BrokerCheck can be missing key information that might reveal your broker’s true character. That’s because of a process called “expungement,” which allows brokers to request that certain disputes and complaints against them be dismissed or expunged from the permanent public record.

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.

Hedge Fund Ponzi Busted

According to the Massachusetts Depart of Justice, Raymond Montoya ran his Ponzi scheme for almost a decade under the auspices of a fund called RMA Strategic Opportunity Fund, LLC. Over the years, investors transferred millions of dollars to Montoya on the promise that he would invest the money in stocks and bonds.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report - October 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.

Ponzi Schemer Paid for Prayers - SEC Probe

An investment advisor charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme spent close to a million dollars on prayers from Hindu priests in order to keep the feds at bay. In spite of her prayers, however, Dawn Bennett was convicted by the federal government of defrauding more than 200 investors of nearly $18 million over the past several years.

FINRA Considers Rolling Back Supervision of Selling Away

Following on the heels of a recent report by the NASAA, a group responsible for monitoring the securities industry, which showed that many broker-dealers are not doing enough to monitor “rogue brokers” with a history of multiple indiscretions on their permanent records, news broke recently that supervision of brokers may be further eroded if changes proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are passed into official regulation.

Ponzi-scheme Operator Sentenced to 30 years in Prison

According to the US Attorney’s office in Arizona, a group operating a Ponzi Scheme solicited millions of dollars in investments for various companies and projects, including real estate, recycling, and land development in Mexico. The solicitations were made through numerous seminars, magazines articles, radio broadcasts, and private offerings.

Small Investors More Vulnerable Than Ever to Wall Street Predators

In the aftermath of Enron, the Financial Crisis, and the Wolf of Wall Street, you might think that regulators who are charged with protecting small retail investors as much as the markets themselves would sharpen up the rules and regulations governing the financial industry. Unfortunately, a series of announcement recently opined about in the New York Times suggests that small investors are more, not less, vulnerable to Wall Street’s predations than they’ve ever been.

FINRA Disciplinary Action Report - September 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.

SEC Busts $350 Million Ponzi-like Scheme

The SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) announced today that it has obtained a court order to shut down a major investment operation worth approximately $345 million. According to the SEC complaint, the scheme involved more than 230 investors from the United States and was lead by Kevin B. Merrill and Cameron Jezierski.

Top 5 Tips for Good Financial Health

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, FINRA, has released some basic guidance for those of us who struggled to achieve financial wellness. Like the governmental guidelines for maintaining good health and ensuring longevity, the financial rules are as simple as they are hard to follow. Take a look.

Former Eagles Player and Goldman Sachs Banker Accused of Insider Trading

In a reversal of the typical story that grabs the headlines, former NFL linebacker Mychal Kendricks and former Goldman Sachs banker Damilare Sonoiki have been charged with insider trading over profits totally approximately $1.2 million. 

Phony Billionaire Connected to Ponzi Scheme

Financier Steve Stovanovich liked to play the big man. Over the past few years, he has pledged multimillionaire donations to the University of Chicago and institute named on his behalf. But as a recent investigation by the Chicago Maroon has revealed, Stovanovich may not possess the vast wealth he says he has.