Strong Advocacy When Broker Fraud and Negligence Causes Severe Financial Harm
Representing investors throughout the country
Many investors are unaware that they have a valid legal claim when their investments result in losses or even minimal gains. Investors should understand that securities laws exist to protect them when stockbrokers, supervisors, and investment companies fail to properly advise the investor, fail to disclose known risks, misrepresent the facts, or scheme to defraud the investor. Individual stockbrokers, brokerage firms, and investment advisory firms that fail to give competent advice that causes the investor to lose money or be crushed by a financial loss can be held accountable.
The securities fraud attorneys at The Frankowski Firm understand how devastating financial loss can be. While many brokers and firms try to convince investors that losses are due to market downturns, we often find that losses are actually caused by the negligence and wrongdoing of the firms themselves. Attorney Richard Frankowski, the founder of the firm, has spent the last 15 years bringing securities arbitration claims and permissible civil claims against firms and their brokers. His team uses their understanding of federal and state securities laws, their knowledge of the litigation process, and their work with financial experts to obtain the best results possible for their clients.
What kinds of actions constitute securities negligence or fraud?
Conduct that is irresponsible can give rise to a civil cause of action. Brokers who fail to recommend investments that are suitable for their clients’ stated goals and needs can be sued for negligence. Negligence claims can be brought if the broker failed to conduct an adequate suitability analysis, failed to disclose penalties to the investor, or failed to diversify the investor’s portfolio. Negligence claims do not require proof of intent to cause harm. When there is a duty to act responsibly on behalf of the investor, and the broker or firm breaches that duty, a negligence claim should be pursued.
Some common duties that stockbrokers sometimes fail to perform that can provide grounds for a negligence claim are:
- Failure to diversify. Generally, stockbrokers and investment advisers should counsel their clients not to put all of their eggs in one basket. It is common practice and prudent to diversify the investments so that the risks are spread out. Diversification also means utilizing different types of investments such as equities, cash equivalents, and fixed income. It is negligent to fail to recommend a proper balance of investments in a portfolio.
- Breach of fiduciary duty. Stockbrokers and investment advisors often owe a fiduciary duty to investors to act in their best interests. When this duty is violated, and it leads to financial damages, investors can bring a negligence claim for breach of fiduciary duty.
- Failure to supervise. Investment firms have a duty to supervise their brokers’ work, to properly train them on all relevant compliance issues, to monitor misbehavior, and generally to see to it that the brokers are treating investors correctly. If a securities firm fails to properly supervise a broker, and the broker is negligent or commits acts of fraud, the firm can be liable for the broker’s wrongful conduct.
- Churning. Brokers have a duty to act on behalf of the investors and not themselves. Some brokers breach this duty by buying and selling securities for customers just to generate commissions for themselves. Our firm’s attorneys work with financial experts who can prove that unusual trading activity or excessive transactions are really a ruse to generate large commissions for the broker.
- Selling away. Brokers may try to avoid the investment firm’s compliance department or act without firm approval by selling securities that aren’t held or offered by the firm. This is inappropriate behavior, and the stockbroker and firm can be sued for securities fraud. The investment firm may also be liable for failing to supervise a broker that engages in selling away.
- Ponzi schemes. This type of securities fraud involves investors who are promised quick financial returns that are based not on earned profit, but on the capital paid by subsequent investors. Investors can lose substantial sums when the number of investors ultimately dries up.
- Suitability claims. These are, perhaps, the most common claims made by investors. In sum, a suitability claim is one that states the broker purchased securities that were unsuitable for the individual or entity, based on that individual or entity’s needs, risk tolerance, and goals.
Investors who have suffered or been devastated by brokers who took advantage of them deserve to be compensated through securities arbitration or in court.
Contact our securities negligence and fraud attorneys to learn more
Many investors work hard for every dollar they make. When life savings or substantial earnings are entrusted to a stockbroker or investment advisor, the investor has the right to expect competence and professionalism – not careless conduct and fraud. If your investments have lost money or failed to make a reasonable return, you may have a claim. The Frankowski Firm can analyze the reason for your losses or poor returns. We hold wrongdoers accountable for securities negligence and fraud. Call us at 888-741-7503 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.