Professional Securities Investment Fraud and Securities Negligence Attorneys
Asserting investors’ rights in securities arbitration and other forums
The Frankowski Firm concentrates its professional advocacy on helping investors, who have lost their savings or failed to get a reasonable return on their investments, when brokers and advisers schemed to take advantage of the investor. As accomplished FINRA arbitration counselors as well as trial attorneys, we fight for investors, small and large, who have suffered financial harm due to investment companies and brokerage firms that failed to supervise their brokers and advisors.
Attorney Richard Frankowski, the founder of our firm, has been advocating on behalf of investors throughout the country for more than 15 years. His book, The Practitioner’s Guide to Securities Arbitration, is used in law classrooms around the country as the primary course text on the subject complex FINRA claims. We offer competent, effective counsel to people whose futures have been compromised by the actions of negligent or fraudulent brokers, supervisors, and brokerage firms.
Types of investment cases our firm handles
If you are like many investors, you may not even realize that you have a potential claim. Securities litigation is a highly complex area of the law, and understanding the nuances of the rules and statutes which govern it is an absolute necessity. Our lawyers have the legal, financial, and practical skills to provide strong advocacy for investors seeking advice about:
- FINRA securities arbitration. Most investment disputes are now tried before a panel of Financial Industrial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrators. Our lawyers can guide you through:
- The FINRA arbitration process. This includes understanding how to select arbitrators, what kinds of cases can be heard, and what evidence is admissible.
- Simplified arbitrations. Cases with damages below $50,000.00 are often heard by a single arbitrator without a formal hearing. Our lawyers have obtained the maximum result in many simple arbitration cases and will advise you whether your case is best suited for this process.
- Why you need an experienced FINRA attorney. Each FINRA case requires attorneys who understand typical defense arguments, the art of negotiation, and how to prove each element of a claim.
- Liability. Losing money is not enough. A firm or broker must have done something wrong that then caused you to lose money. We understand how firms may be liable for their conduct and we will spend as much time as necessary helping you understand the underlying conduct that caused you economic harm.
- Damages. Proving liability is just the first phase of an investment case. The amount of the financial loss must be determined with reasonable certainty. Additional damages, such as legal fees and punitive damages, may also be awarded.
- Broker fraud and negligence. Some of the common kinds of investment loss claims our lawyers handle are:
- Failure to diversify. Brokers should advise investors that diversification of investments helps to spread the risks. A properly managed portfolio should avoid overconcentration in one company, in one industry, and in one location.
- Breach of fiduciary duty. Investors place their financial trust in brokers. Brokers, in return, often have a fiduciary duty to use due diligence to determine and explain the benefits and risks of each investment type, to suggest reasonable alternatives, and to comply with FINRA and Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations. In short, broker usually must put your interest before theirs.
- Churning/elements of churning. We hold stockbrokers accountable when they recommend and buy and sell positions for the primary purpose of earning commissions.
- Selling away. Brokers should only sell authorized securities. When brokers sell securities not offered by their firm, often to avoid compliance regulations, they should be held responsible. We know how to uncover these sales and how to hold the broker and his or her firm liable for failing to supervise their employee.
- Ponzi schemes. Investors who have been pushed into a financial scheme where the capital comes mainly from subsequent investors have the right to hold these schemers and anyone who ran the scheme responsible for securities fraud.
- Variable annuity fraud. These investments often promise large future gains for immediate financial investments. Many variable annuities carry excessive underlying expenses and costs that are never explained by the broker. Additionally, surrender charges, mortality and risk charges, administrations fees, and other expenses frequently make these investments completely unsuitable for the average investor, especially elderly investors.
- Suitability claims. Every investment should be suitable for the needs and goals of the investors. Brokers and investment firms who recommend unsuitable investments, such as high-risk stocks when lower-risk securities would match the investors objectives, can be sued for securities negligence or fraud.
- Failure to supervise. Investment firms cannot push the blame for faulty investments onto their brokers/employees. Financial firms have a direct duty to educate their employees, monitor their performance, and discipline them when they fail to comply with securities regulations or company policy.
- Investment issues. Investors can suffer financial harm for a variety of reasons. In addition to understanding the duties of brokers and securities firm, our lawyers understand a range of complicated financial investment products that often cause harm to uninformed investors, including:
- Mutual funds. Mutual funds are pooled investments that have many dangers that the broker should explain to the investors. They often pay high commissions, and expose the client to expensive administrative fees.
- Master limited partnerships (MLPs). These investments, usually in the oil and gas industry, have many risks. They are often hard to sell, have large commissions, usually mean overconcentration in one industry sector, are extremely volatile, require that income be distributed to investors, and generate good early returns at the expense of speculative returns over time.
- Non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). Investments of this type are generally much worse than Traded REITs because they are illiquid, less regulated, have large upfront fees, are unstable, and often are created through conflicts of interest that benefit the broker and related parties at the expense of the investor.
- Closed-end funds. Capital, in this type of investment, is only raised once – at the Initial Public Offering (IPO) stage. They are usually good for the broker but poor investments for many investors.
- Unsuitable margin trading. Investors who are cash poor often make a joint investment with a bank or the brokerage firm recommending a security. The bank or firm essentially loans the money to the investor. The downside is that the loan requires interest payments. Margin calls can force the investors to pay from other assets without advance knowledge or the ability to direct which other investment should be sold to pay down the loan.
- Penny stocks. Penny stocks are not listed on national exchanges and have low value; they are typically traded at less than five dollars per share. They are risky because their value is hard to determine and they can be hard to sell. They are also less regulated than other investments.
The Frankowski Firm continually works to educate our investors in addition to fighting to get the greatest award possible for investment negligence and fraud. We have compiled an exhaustive list of resources for our clients, including overviews of:
- Federal and state securities laws
- The rights that all investors have
- Important questions to ask your broker
Each case is different. At The Frankowski Firm, our lawyers listen to every clients’ concerns and answers all of their questions. We work with financial experts to determine why the investment failed to perform, how the broker breached his or her duties, and the total amount of damages caused by the wrongful conduct.
Contact our securities investment firm to speak with a trusted attorney today
Do not assume that market forces caused your financial loss. Many times, investors who have lost money did so because stockbrokers were negligent or fraudulent in the handling of the account. The securities investment attorneys at The Frankowski Firm fight aggressively to hold financial wrongdoers accountable. To discuss your case and get answers to your questions, please call 888.741.7503 or complete our contact form.