Tag: Florida Securities Lawyers

How to Recover Damages Through Securities Arbitration

Florida Securities Arbitration Attorneys at Hanley Law, PLLC

If you have investments with a financial corporation or brokerage firm, it’s important to monitor your investments to ensure they are being handled according to your agreement with the broker. If you suspect that some fraudulent activity might be going on, including any activity you didn’t consent to, you might want to consider resolving the issue through arbitration. Arbitration is how the majority of disputes in the securities industry are resolved (as opposed to a traditional courtroom trial) because it is a quick and inexpensive way to solve complicated concerns.

The process will typically take anywhere between 12-14 months from the time the claim was filed, but the timeframe will vary depending on certain factors (# of involved parties, complexity of issues, personal schedules, volume of necessary discovery) and can be expedited in special circumstances (due to medical concerns or age). The first step is to file a Statement of Claim with FINRA. This will include the details of the dispute, including identifying the Claimant (who filed the claim) and Respondent (who the claim is against), and the type of damages requested. The Claimant must also file an Arbitration Submission Agreement and pay a filing fee, which depends on the amount of the claim, number of discovery motions, number of hearing sessions and any postponements. Next the claim gets served to the respondent(s), who then file an “answer” which specifies any relevant facts and outlines their defense.

After the answer is received, the arbitrator selection process begins. The Claimant and Respondent are provided lists of arbitrators (generated from FINRA’s Neutral List Selection System) and get the opportunity to evaluate their potential arbitrators and eliminate those they don’t want on their case. Depending on the dollar amount of the damages requested and parties involved, 1-3 arbitrators may be assigned. Next, you will have a prehearing conference with all parties involved including the appointed arbitrators to determine the timelines for discovery, briefing & motions, and evidentiary hearing dates.

After all discovery and any motions have been filed it is time for the actual hearing, which is similar to a normal trial where the Claimant will try and prove their claim and the Respondent will try to defend their position. The hearing will typically include testimony from involved parties and any witnesses, and reviewing any evidentiary documents. After the hearing arbitrators will then deliberate and render their decision of award, which is issued within 30 days. There is no appeals process offered through FINRA, but district courts do have the power to overturn an arbitration award under certain circumstances. Brokerage firms & brokers then have 30 days to pay you, or they risk suspension by FINRA.

This is a highly simplified version of the securities arbitration process, intended to give a general overview of how to collect damages through arbitration. To learn more or to have your case evaluated for free by legal experts, please contact The Hanley Law.

Securities Attorneys Representing Clients in Florida and Nationwide

Securities are the financial instruments that represent a form of ownership or stake in a company. Securities allow individuals to own asset(s) without taking possession of them. Because of this, securities can be exchanged easily. In addition to this, pricing securities is not difficult which is why they are a strong indicator of the value of the asset. In order to purchase or sell securities, a trader must obtain a license to ensure they have been trained to follow a set of laws established by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Despite the regulatory agencies and laws in effect, fraud is still widespread. Fraud is an “umbrella term” that encompasses a wide range of deceptive and manipulative practices utilized by perpetrators to profit at the expense of the investor(s).

Types of securities:

Bonds, which can be issued by corporations or the government (Federal/Local).

A corporate bond is essentially a loan to a corporate entity in which you receive interest annually until the loan is paid off. Corporate bonds offer stability and are considered safer than stock in a company. Bondholders do not get dividends or voting rights which is why in the long haul, stocks have the potential for larger returns.

A bond issued by the federal government is very low in terms of risk and most frequently issued by the US Treasury. The potential for return is significantly lower than stocks or bonds issued by corporate entities.

A municipal bond is issued by state and local government. These include a city, county, town or school district. Typically,the rate of interest is lower than that of a bond issued by a corporation.

Mutual Funds , which are composed of a variety of securities.

A mutual fund can be stock options, bonds or both. In most cases, the investment is placed in a pool with monies from other investors. The fund is managed by an investment company, who selects the securities. The risk of the investment is reduced due to the diversity of the portfolio.

Stock Options

The right to purchase or sell stock in a company, at a specific rate for a window of time. The right to purchase stock is referred to as a call, the right to sell is called a “put”.

Futures Option

A futures contract is an agreement to sell a certain security in the future for a pre-determined rate. An option is the right to purchase or sell a contract at a certain price for a specified period of time. Since it used to reduce risk, a futures option is utilized by many investors.

History of Regulation

The regulation of Securities in the United States dates back to the 1930’s when the New Deal was passed. In the1930’s & 40’s, five major laws were put into place by the Federal Government.

  • Securities Act of 1933 a regulation on the distribution of new securities
  • Securities Exchange Act of 1934- regulation of trading securities , brokers & exchanges
  • Trust Indenture Act of 1939- regulation of debt securities
  • Investment Company Act of 1940- regulating mutual funds
  • Investment Advisers Act of 1940- regulation of investment advisers

Since the 1940’s a number of amendments have been made to these regulations in order to promote fair trade and enforce illegitimate/illegal practices. These major laws also serve to protect investors, ensuring they are adequately informed at the time of purchase.

While many measures are in place to reduce risk, it is still inherent, especially when dealing with non-governmental entities. Educating yourself on the common practices of Fraudsters can help you identify red flags when it comes time to invest your hard earned money. While often, fraudsters target vulnerable investors, saavy, educated people are still victimized.

Florida Based Law Firm Hanley Law have represented thousands of clients nationwide and represent individual investors in claims for securities and stockbroker misconduct. If you’ve suffered monetary loss due to misconduct or believe your investment was mishandled, contact us for a Free Case Evaluation.