If you lost money due to fraud or negligence on the part of your stockbroker, financial advisor, or investment firm, you may be able to file an investment fraud lawsuit. More likely, you may be required to address your claim through FINRA arbitration, as most investment agreements contain mandatory arbitration provisions.
Oftentimes a stockbroker will claim that losses are due to the market or that they will bounce back. Sometimes this is true. Unfortunately, sometimes the losses are the stockbroker’s fault and your investments will not recover when the market gets better. It’s always best to have an experienced attorney review the case. Waiting can result in being barred by certain state, federal, or regulatory statutes of limitation.
If you have suffered investment losses, it is important that you contact an attorney immediately. State, federal, and regulatory statutes of limitation may apply to your claims. This means that even if you have a viable claim, you may be barred from bringing it because you waited too long. But if it has been a long time, that does not necessarily mean that you are barred — statutes of limitation vary by type of claim.
FINRA, or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the forum in which most brokerage firms require customers to arbitrate. Arbitration is like a court proceeding. There is a panel of three arbitrators that act as judge and jury, by listening to opening and closing statements and witness testimony with direct and cross examinations. The main differences between arbitration and a court proceeding are that FINRA arbitrations are generally shorter and less expensive than court and there is no traditional appeal process. At the end of the proceedings, the arbitrators will make a decision that is final and binding, meaning it cannot be overturned except under extreme or unusual circumstances. If you want to pursue a claim or suit against a stockbroker or financial advisor, be sure to work with an experienced attorney who is well-acquainted with FINRA’s arbitration filing guidelines, rules, and regulations.
In most cases, unfortunately, you have no choice between arbitration and court. Most large brokerage firms put an “arbitration selection clause” in their contracts. It is likely buried among several pages of legalese in the contract you signed to open an account. Courts have decided these arbitration selection clauses are valid. So, if you bring a claim against your broker or a broker-dealer firm, you will probably do so in FINRA arbitration.
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Call and speak to one of our attorneys* for a no-cost consultation to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and help you determine the next steps. This call usually takes about 15 minutes, but we are happy to talk to you as long as you would like!
Quick Review of Your Paperwork
If we think you might have a case, we will need to review a few basic documents. If we determine you have a case, then you will have the option to hire us as your attorneys to pursue it.
Signed Attorney/Client Agreement
If you decide to hire us to pursue your case, we will have you sign an attorney-client agreement so we can begin the process of trying to recover your losses.*
*In the vast majority of cases, our agreement is contingent – meaning you won’t owe us any money unless we recover money for you.