Kass Shuler’s Investor Advocates
We are a nationwide litigation law firm that helps investors recover investment related losses. Our experienced attorneys aggressively pursue claims on behalf of clients who have been damaged as a result of negligence, fraud and misconduct by their financial advisors and brokerage firms. Investment related litigation is complicated and requires a specific skill set that most lawyers do not possess. Our skilled and experienced lawyers are here to help you recover your losses!
If I lose money in my investment accounts, can I sue my financial advisor?
Yes, you may be able to sue your financial advisor (stock broker and/or investment advisors) if you have lost money in your investment account. Investors can be entitled to an award of damages if they have lost money as a result of the financial advisor’s negligence or misconduct. There are broad categories of legal theories we can prosecute; however, the core claims typically come down to claims for negligence, unsuitability and/or fraud. When we first meet with our clients we gather as much information as possible in order to assess the situation and determine if the client has lost money due to the negligence, or fraud, of the financial advisor. This is typically accomplished through an initial consultation with the client. If we conclude the investment loss was due to the negligence, or fraud, of the financial advisor, we then assess when potential damages. This is typically accomplished by reviewing the client’s account opening documents/contracts, and account statements from the firm. Once we have completed this assessment, we present our analysis and conclusions to the client, with our recommendations on how to proceed. Just because you have lost money in your investment account, does not mean you have a viable suit against your financial advisor. A comprehensive attorney review of the facts of your case are necessary to arrive at this conclusion. If you have questions about a potential claim you may have against your financial advisor, please contact our office for a free initial consultation.
How to resolve a dispute with your financial advisor?
Following our initial consultation with a client, we determine the proper forum to file the lawsuit. For clients with brokerage accounts at FINRA regulated firms, their arbitration agreements typically direct disputes to be resolved in FINRA’s arbitration forum – FINRA Dispute Resolution. FINRA arbitration is similar to going to court, but can be faster, less expensive and less complex than traditional litigation in court. It is a formal alternative to state court, or federal court, litigation in which two or more parties select a neutral third party, called an arbitrator, to resolve the dispute. The arbitrator’s decision, called an award, is final and binding. There are very few instances where a FINRA arbitration award can be appealed. In resolving disputes through FINRA’s arbitration forum, a FINRA arbitrator or panel (consisting of three arbitrators) will listen to the arguments to the dispute, study the testimonial and evidence, and then render a decision.
For clients with accounts held at Registered Investment Advisors (“RIA”), the Investment Advisory Agreement typically dictates which arbitration forum will adjudicate the dispute (i.e., American Arbitration Association, Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service, National Arbitration and Mediation, etc.) The process is similar to FINRA arbitration, however, each forum typically has its own set of rules and procedures.
For clients who do not have arbitration agreements, or for those who invested money with someone not regulated by FINRA or an RIA, they can file suit in state or federal court (depend largely on the investments at issue, amounts in dispute and the location of the parties). The litigation process in state or federal court typically moves at a slower pace and involves added discovery obligations.
If you have questions about a potential claim you may have against your financial advisor, please contact our office for a free initial consultation.
How long do I have to file a claim against my financial advisor?
When you have lost money due to the negligence of your financial advisor, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim. The first time limitation is created by FINRA, and is referred to as the Eligibility Rule. Rule 12206 of FINRA’s Code of Arbitration states, in part, that “[n]o claim shall be eligible for submission to arbitration under the Code where six years have elapsed from the occurrence or event giving rise to the claim.” The rule does not extinguish a claim that is more than six years old, but it bars use of FINRA’s arbitration system to resolve the claim. What constitutes the “occurrence or event” that starts the clock running under Rule 12206 can vary based on the nature and/or scope of the claim.
The second limiting factor is the applicable statute of limitations. Federal and state courts enforce statutory cutoffs for brining different kinds of claims, which vary in length from one jurisdiction to another. A majority of courts around the country appear to draw no distinction between litigation and arbitration, ruling that such statute of limitations should be applied to arbitration. However, there are arguments to be made that the statute of limitations should not apply in arbitration. That said, arbitrators are given a great deal of discretion and unless the reasons for granting an award are specifically stated in the final arbitration award by the arbitrators, the appellate courts rarely vacate the same.
It is critical that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to determine if your claim is within the statute of limitations and/or the Eligibility Rule. If you have questions about a potential claim you may have against your financial advisor, and you would like to determine if you are within the applicable limitations or eligibility period, please contact our office for a free initial consultation.
How does a FINRA arbitration attorney bring a claim against your financial advisor?
The first step in bringing a claim against financial advisor is to meet with an attorney in order to educate them on the underlying facts of the case. You will want to prepare a chronology of events and collect critical documents that will assist the lawyer evaluate the financial advisor’s potential exposure. You will then meet with the attorney, over the phone or in-person, to review the facts and tell them your story. Once the lawyer has this information, they should be in a position to complete a legal assessment of the claim. If the claim is viable, a demand letter will typically be sent to the financial advisor outlining the claim and making a demand for the funds that have been lost as a result of the advisor’s misconduct. If the demand is not met, the lawyer will typically prepare and file a Statement of Claim (or formal complaint) with FINRA dispute resolution. This will begin the formal arbitration process, which is explained in more detail here.
Contact Us For A Free Consultation
We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not collect a fee unless we recover for you. Please contact our office to discuss your case. You can call us at 1-888-976-7281, or simply complete and submit the form below.