Last week I told you about what happened to Hal and his wife, both 67, retired, and long time readers. From more than a million dollars in their 401K account as of January, 2006, their investments have lost close to $750,000. Why? What Went Wrong? “In our final preparations for retirement, in early 2006 even…

Philadelphia, PA (MarketWire) November 6, 2008 –The Guiliano Law Group, P.C., a leading securities lawyer firm in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announced today it is actively investigating and pursuing securities fraud claims against certain securities broker-dealers resulting from the risky or unsuitable recommendation of securities. Investment trusts, labor unions, pension funds, local municipalities, school boards and charitable…

Washington, D.C. – The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has imposed a $250,000 fine against J.P. Turner & Company, LLC of Atlanta, GA, for failing to have an adequate supervisory system designed to ensure that its registered representatives charged customers fair and reasonable commissions on stock trades. As part of the…

LPL Financial was sued last week in Phoenix for its role in an affinity fraud case involving members of a local church and an ex-broker who allegedly stole $5 million from at least 40 victims. The lawsuit alleges that the broker, James Buchanan, was able to steal $382,376 from an elderly married couple because LPL…

PHILADELPHIA – PA Nicholas J. Guiliano of the Guiliano Law Group, P.C., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announced today he is actively investigating and pursuing fraud claims against certain securities broker-dealers resulting from the risky or unsuitable recommendation of the securities of certain financial institutions. Tens of Billions Lost in Securities Investment Trusts, Labor Unions, Pension Funds,…

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former broker in South Florida, Gary J. Gross, who allegedly defrauded senior citizens and other customers through a variety of abusive sales practices, garnering him more than $700,000 in commissions and fees while causing more than $2.7 million in investor losses. SEC Chairman Christopher Cox announced the…

Despite intense pressure from regulators to tighten recruiting standards for brokers with marks on their records, these bad apples are still being hired by new firms, recent cases illustrate. The problem is compounded by an industry practice that condones silence from broker-dealers when a registered representative leaves under a cloud, attorneys and regulators said. It’s…

In a case allegedly involving stolen stock, Wachovia Securities LLC was hammered in a recent arbitration loss and ordered to pay clients $5.3 million in damages. An award of that size is a huge win for investors, attorneys said. The case, which was decided July 30, centered on allegations that Wachovia of St. Louis “accepted…

In a superficial effort to avoid Congress enacting the Arbitration Fairness Act, in response to the perceived corruption of the arbitration process by FINRA, a “self”-regulatory organization consisting of the same brokerage firms that are the defendants or respondents in these cases, announced that it will launch a two-year pilot program later this fall. The pilot program…

Saying stockbrokers should be barred from hiding their mistakes, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler lauded a federal appeals court for allowing state regulators to intervene in malpractice settlements in an attempt to make sure the action stays on the broker’s national record. But the outcome was decried by an attorney for the former broker who…

Last August, Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley and one of its senior traders agreed to pay $6.1 million in fines and restitution to settle allegations that the investment bank overcharged brokerage customers on 2,800 purchases of $59 million of bonds. Dana de Windt, a Crucial Inside Source Regulators investigating the case had a crucial inside…

General Description of Auction Rate Securities Auction rate securities were first offered for sale in U.S. financial markets in the early 1980s. As of the end of 2005, there were approximately $263 billion of auction rate securities outstanding. Many different types of issuers have issued auction rate securities for example, closed-end funds, corporations, municipal authorities…

Recent downgrades of municipal bond insurers and other short-term liquidity concerns have created extreme volatility in the market for municipal Auction Rate Securities. There also have been an unprecedented number of “failed auctions,” meaning that investors who chose to liquidate their positions through the auction process were not able to do so.  This situation may…

Testimony of Tanya Solov Director, Illinois Securities Department Illinois Secretary of State On behalf of the North American Securities Administrators Association Before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee December 12, 2007 S. 1782, the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 December 12, 2007 Chairman Feingold, Ranking Member Brownback, and Members of the…

A critical part of the hiring process in the securities industry is the background investigation of prospective personnel. For instance, background investigations can help member firms determine whether a prospective employee is subject to a statutory disqualification or whether he or she may present a regulatory risk for the firm and customers. Firms Obligations It…

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. $1 million to settle charges it produced “flawed, incomplete and untimely data” in breakpoint self-assessment. FINRA claimed that New York boutique firm Oppenheimer submitted fund breakpoint data to FINRA that the firm knew to be inaccurate, in addition to other supervisory deficiencies, in 2003….

NYSE HEARING BOARD DECISION 07-143 September 7, 2007 Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Violated NYSE Rule 401(a) by failing to ensure delivery of prospectuses in connection with sales of registered securities in violation of Section 5(b)(2) of Securities Act of 1933 and to deliver trade confirmations to certain customers; violated NYSE Rule 1100(b) by failing to…

NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE LLC NYSE HEARING BOARD DECISION 07-129 September 7, 2007 BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES LLC MEMBER ORGANIZATION Violated NYSE Rule 401(a) by failing to ensure delivery of prospectuses in connection with sales of registered securities in violation of Section 5(b)(2) of Securities Act of 1933; violated NYSE Rule 1100(b) by failing to…

NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE LLC NYSE HEARING BOARD DECISION 07-116 September 7, 2007 WACHOVIA CAPITAL MARKETS LLC MEMBER ORGANIZATION Violated NYSE Rule 1100(b) by failing to deliver product descriptions to customers that purchased Exchanged Traded Funds; violated NYSE Rule 342 by failing to provide for, establish, and maintain appropriate procedures of supervision and control, including…

Allianz will provide restitution to seniors and implement more stringent suitability processes. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced today the settlement of a lawsuit she brought in January against Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America for selling deferred annuities to Minnesota senior citizens without first determining whether the annuities were suitable investments for the…

Mutual Service Corp. of West Palm Beach Fla., and five of its principals are the subjects of a complaint by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority concerning allegedly shoddy and inaccurate books and records over sales of variable annuities, including tax-free exchanges, known as 1035 exchanges. MSC, with about 1,200 affiliated registered representatives and 800 branches, was…

Pruco Securities, LLC (CRD #5685, Newark, New Jersey) and Prudential Investment Management Services LLC (CRD #18353, Newark, New Jersey) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which they were censured, fined $525,000, jointly and severally, and required to conduct an audit and prepare written findings regarding their compliance with NASD rules relating to…

NEWARK, NJ – Citigroup Global Markets Inc. has been ordered to cease and desist from violations of the New Jersey Uniform Securities Law, and to pay the state $5 million in civil monetary penalties under the terms of a consent order announced today by Attorney General Anne Milgram, Consumer Affairs Acting Director Stephen B. Nolan…

Morgan Stanley agreed Wednesday to pay nearly $8 million to settle federal fraud charges stemming from its reported failure to get retail stock investors the best prices possible on more than a million over-the-counter transactions. The Settlement Over roughly three years, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday in announcing the settlement, “Morgan Stanley’s automated…

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the NASD Codes of Arbitration Procedure for Customer and Industry Disputes (hereinafter referred to as the Customer and Industry Codes, respectively, or new Codes). Customer and Industry Codes The Customer and Industry Codes reorganize the dispute resolution rules into separate procedural codes, simplify the language of the…

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