Believe it or not, many AdvisorLaw clients are financial advisors who fired their previous attorney and hired us to represent them in a FINRA customer dispute or U5 termination expungement case that was being botched. On the heels of our success with customer dispute disclosure expungements through FINRA arbitration, we have seen firms pop up, one after another, presuming that they can have equivalent success, solely based on AdvisorLaw’s high-performance track record. Unfortunately, just because a Kia and a Ferrari may have the same general, aerodynamic shape, does not mean that they can both achieve the same quarter-mile time. FINRA Rule 2080 expungement is a race track that has many twists and turns—it’s never a Sunday drive down a country road.
Is your firm full of attorneys who typically represent B-Ds against nuisance claims by investors?
Do they often conveniently settle out?
If so, they are woefully behind the curve of understanding all angles that are key to actually fighting the merits of these customer complaint that show on your BrokerCheck profile. Indeed, the individual merit of a customer dispute takes a back seat to simply calculating a “cost to the firm.” They might as well just be accountants. Of course, these are the same compliance attorneys who told you not to worry, that they’ll take care of it, and you ended up with a nice, glaring, meritless disclosure on your BrokerCheck and Form U4. So much for defending your good name.
Is your firm under-resourced? Does it only have a couple of employees, or, worse, is it a one-man shop? Will it even be solvent a year from now, at the close of the case?
This BrokerCheck dispute process is built on numerous elements that strategically combine to create the final product:
One person simply is not an expert at all parts of a FINRA expungement arbitration—a small engine can’t deliver the torque that a muscle car can. If you pop the hood at AdvisorLaw, you can see all of the components that give us so much horsepower.
Does your attorney only talk about how they are cut rate? Are they elusive when asked about past results?
One sure thing in life is that you will get exactly what you pay for. Do not fall for the sales pitch or false promises. Do not fall for evasive answers to these questions. Please, do not fall prey to the exact firms that FINRA itself has warned advisors about. You don’t want to put in all the effort to prepare for the race only to blow your engine just off the starting line.
With AdvisorLaw, it’s easy to get all of your questions answered, without any spin. The test results of our high-performance engine speak for themselves.
AdvisorLaw prominently displays the raw data, verifiable at FINRA, that shows exactly who we are:
When you start weighing these factors, you can see why many advisors ditch their lemon on the side of the road to upgrade to AdvisorLaw. We can help you protect your livelihood.
Executive Vice President
In its ongoing effort to protect the investing public, FINRA published Notice 18-15 which, among other things, compels firms to identify financial advisors that require heightened supervision. Past misconduct - including Customer Disputes, Criminal Matters, Regulatory Actions, and U5 Terminations - are all factors that firms are to consider in identifying advisors needing additional oversight from FINRA. On its face, it all seems very reasonable. Without a doubt the industry wants to rid itself of bad actors.
However, over the course of AdvisorLaw’s 165+ awards during 2017 and thus far in 2018 (which we boast a 91% win rate), we have helped confirm that the bar for a meritless disclosure on a CRD is artificially low. An investor having a bad day can impact a financial advisor’s career for years to come. With this background, FINRA now wants to use the same information as a basis to determine which advisors need additional supervision.
Couple these factors with the new rule regarding the FINRA expungement process set to be promulgated in the near future. Financial advisors with spurious customer dispute or U5 termination disclosures may find themselves singled out as “bad actors” with a much more difficult path to clear their name, but will nonetheless be required to submit to a regime of additional oversight.
What is an honest professional with a negative BrokerCheck disclosures to do? We understand that the advisor is typically caught up in circumstances which were out of their control. AdvisorLaw has handled hundreds of cases ranging from Customer Disputes to Criminal Convictions. And, as already mentioned, we win 91% of the time. Is it still cost-effective to wait and see?
Tad Burton, J.D.
As we have been continuing to report since December 6th, 2017, FINRA has proposed changes to gut the expungement process for financial professionals who seek expungement of meritless customer complaints under Rule 2080.
As we only represent the financial advisor, we talk to thousands of reps, nearly all of whom are enraged at the prospect of losing basic due process under the FINRA arbitration rules. Whether you currently have a meritless customer dispute, fear allegations being indiscriminately lobbed at you in the future, or simply wish to retain the basic American rights of "innocent until proven guilty" you should read our formal response to FINRA pointing out the problems with these new measures.
Including, and not the least of which is, FINRA's assertion that any customer dispute disclosures over 12 months old will NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR ANY REMEDY under the new arbitration rules.
Aged false, erroneous, impossible and defamatory customer claims against you and your business will be permanent on your CRD and BrokerCheck profile.
Monday, February 5th, was the end of the comment period. Now we wait on the decision of a "self-regulatory" organization that has done little to protect the livelihood of their own financial professionals.
Armin Sarabi, J.D.
This blog is our ongoing effort to inform and educate FINRA licensed professionals about the evolving regulatory ecosystem in which we operate.