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Debate Over Mandatory Arbitration Heats Up

The Investor Choice Act, authored by Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) seeks to bar not only broker-dealers but other corporations from deploying mandatory arbitration agreements. At a recent hearing, the Act met strong opposition from industry groups such as SIFMA as well as the Chamber of Commerce. Tom Quaadman, executive vice president with the Chamber of Commerce, defended the arbitration process as a vital dispute resolution tool that helps clients and advisors alike avoid lengthy and costly litigation.

FINRA Investor Alert: Social Sentiment Investing

Last week, the securities industry watchdog FINRA issued a new Investor Alert concerning “Social Sentiment” tools and investing. According to the regulatory agency, a new form of investing data has been taking hold of investors, and it’s not so reliable.

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.

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.

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.

$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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

How to Run a Background Check on Your Stock Broker - The Right Way

What you may not know, however, is that there is a highly sophisticated system of record-keeping for financial industry professionals administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and those records are freely available to the public.

How to Protect Yourself Against Investment Fraud: 5 Questions

What can you do, oh unsophisticated investor, to protect yourself against the attacks and traps of some of history's most dastardly fraudsters? For a start you can ask yourself the following 5 questions about investment fraud - and answer them as honestly as possible. Remember, when you're trying to protect yourself from the deception, the last thing you want to do is self-deceive!

FINRA Broker Disciplinary Action Report: June 2016

Each month and again on a quarterly basis, 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. This long list of alleged wrongdoing and misconduct reads a lot like a police blotter. 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.

Pro Athletes Targeted by Ponzi Schemes

Professional athletes offer fraudulent advisors, brokers, friends, and family an irresistible target for their schemes. The typical pro athlete is young and, as an investor, woefully unsophisticated. They also have a lot of money which needs investing. No wonder every few months or even weeks, we read another story about pro athletes getting swindled.