Navigating the complexities of FINRA

Financial management is one of the most important aspects of life.  Investing your money can be tricky and confusing and choosing the right attorney to guide you through the process is important. 

Dwyer, Spino & Goncalves, LLC’s attorneys have been representing parties with regard to all aspects of financial industry disputes for over 15 years.  Our clients include investors, financial advisors, broker-dealers and advisory firms.  Each case involves an application of state and federal securities laws to the specific facts of the case.  To support our clients, we maintain relationships with experts throughout the country to assist when necessary, including analyzing a customer’s losses to determine possible damage, providing live testimony or issuing written reports.

One unique feature of financial industry disputes is that they are governed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  FINRA maintains a special forum for the resolution of such disputes.  With very limited exceptions, all “customer” disputes, i.e., disputes between financial advisors (or brokers), brokerage firms and their customers, as well “industry” disputes, are mandated either by contract, or by the securities laws, to be submitted to FINRA Dispute Resolution. 

Our Attorneys have handled numerous customer cases on behalf of brokers, broker dealers and advisory firms, as well as individual or institutional investors. Almost every customer case begins with an unhappy investor, either because the returns on their investments were below “market” or because the account lost value.  The most common claims involve the “suitability” of a customer’s investments, i.e., was the investment “suitable” for the investor given their age, investment goals, and overall net worth.  Suitability cases are often coupled with allegations of “churning,” or the rapid turnover of investments not designed to make the client money, but rather to generate lots of fees for the broker.  Our experience isn’t limited to the common claims, however, as we have also represented clients in cases seeking to recover funds lost as a result of a “Ponzi” scheme, such as what happened in the Bernard Madoff securities cases (and in fact we represented a group of investors who lost money with Madoff Securities!). 

On the industry side, we have handled claims between brokers, as well as disputes between brokerage firms.  These disputes range from misappropriation of customer lists to violations of covenants not to compete, Slander on the Form U-5, and failure to pay commissions.  Industry disputes often involve corollary inquiries into the professionals by the regulatory authorities.  Therefore, we try and take care to make sure the decision-making process also includes a review of the rules and regulations governing such conduct to avoid any unwanted investigations

Although most disputes are handled by FINRA, sometimes a party to a dispute either refuses to arbitrate, or refuses to pay the award.  In those cases, it is necessary to seek assistance from either the state or federal courts.  We have handled numerous cases in court seeking to compel arbitration of claims, as well as actions to enforce or vacate arbitration awards.    Several of these matters have even reached the Massachusetts Appeals Court. 

If you have a dispute that may be governed by FINRA, or which otherwise involves the securities industry, please contact the Attorneys of DSG Law for a free consultation.  We analyze each case independently and pride ourselves on giving honest, straight-forward advice to our customers.  As with all aspects of our commercial litigation practice, we bring our experience to bear on behalf of the client to provide cost-conscious, goals-oriented representation.   


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