Common Claims Against Stockbrokers

Despite how their services are advertised as “putting your interests first,” there is a striking difference between the positions brokerage firms take when soliciting customers and those they take when those customers arbitrate claims against the same firms.  See, Advertising Like Doctors, Arbitrating Like Used Car Salesmen: “Huge Disconnect” Seen Between Brokerage Ad Claims and Tactics Used to Fight Aggrieved Investors.”

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted a package of rulemakings and interpretations designed to enhance the quality and transparency of retail investors’ relationships with investment advisers and broker-dealers, bringing the legal requirements and mandated disclosures in line with reasonable investor expectations, while preserving access (in terms of choice and cost) to a variety of investment services and products. Specifically, these actions include new Regulation Best Interest, the new Form CRS Relationship Summary, and two separate interpretations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

Individually and collectively, these actions are designed to enhance and clarify the standards of conduct applicable to broker-dealers and investment advisers, help retail investors better understand and compare the services offered and make an informed choice of the relationship best suited to their needs and circumstances, and foster greater consistency in the level of protections provided by each regime, particularly at the point in time that a recommendation is made. However, as is the law in approximately 37 states, as a general matter, all or substantially all claims against stockbrokers and investment professionals, including churning, unauthorized trading, the sale of unsuitable investments, the sale of defective financial products and even the failure to supervise, can be characterized as a breach of a fiduciary duty, and specifically, the duty of due care, the duty of loyalty, or the duty of candor.

man with money in pocketFor example, in the case of churning or excessive activity, which is an express violation of FINRA Conduct Rules, the real claim can be fairly characterized as the broker effecting excessive transactions in a customer account, not with the intention of further the customers interest or investment objective, whatever that investment objective may be, but instead with the intent of furthering the broker’s own financial or pecuniary interest.

The same may be said regarding suitability, both “reasonable basis suitability,” in that the broker or the brokerage firm conducted sufficient due diligence and product knowledge to reasonably understand that features of any particular investment, and “customer specific suitability,” in that given the understanding of any particular investment, for what specific customer may this investment be suitable. Under such circumstances, the failure to perform due diligence, or the wrongful or unsuitable recommendation of otherwise risky investments to specific customers for whom these investments may not be suitable, can really, in all practicality, be seen as recklessness or the breach of the duty of due care. By no means is this an exhaustive list, however:

Common Claims Against Stockbrokers Include:

Boiler Room Sales

Breach of Fiduciary Duty


Conflicts of Interest


Elder Financial Abuse

Excessive Trading

Failure to Conduct Due Diligence

Failure to Disclose Risk

Failure to Diversify

Failure to Execute

Failure to Supervise

Failure to Warn

False Statements and Omissions

Financial Suicide

Forgery and Alteration of Documents

Margin Account Fraud

Misappropriation of Funds

Negligent Retirement Planning


Regulation Best Interest

Retail Bank Cross Selling

Selling Away

Stockbroker Negligence

Stockbroker Theft

Unauthorized Trading

Unsuitable Investment Recommendations

Wrongful Management Referral


Guiliano Law Group

Our practice is limited to the representation of investors in connection with claims against stockbrokers and investment professionals.  We accept representation on a contingent fee basis, meaning there is no cost to you unless we make a recovery for you. There is never any charge for a consultation or an evaluation of your claim. For more information, contact us at (877) SEC-ATTY.

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Public Investors Advocate Bar Association

Martindale Award


FINRA Arbitration

The litigation of individual and group investor claims against securities broker-dealers and investment professionals adjuducated in arbitration before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Defective Financial Products

Alternative Investments, Promissory Notes, Structured Products, High Yield Bond Funds, Non-Marketable Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inverse and Leveraged ETFs,  the Failure to Conduct Due Diligence.

Unsuitable Investments

Speculative or High Risk Investment Recommendations, Unsuitable Investment Strategies, Low Priced Securities, Customer Specific Unsuitability, Inappropriate Investment Recommendations.

Stockbroker Misconduct

Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Churing, Unauthorized Trading, Fraud, Stockbroker Theft, Ponzi Schemes, the Sale of Unapprovied investments.

"First Name I Would Mention"

I had questions and sought a consultation regarding what I believed to have been inappropriate treatment by my brokerage firm. He took the time to give me a clear understanding of what was involved and clearly described next steps to resolve the matter. He did this in a concise, complete and friendly manner. Although in the scheme of things my matter was small. From what I have seen, if I ever had need of a securities lawyer or was asked to refer one to a friend, Nicholas would undoubtedly be the first name I would mention.

Keith (Avvo)

I had a problem with a dishonorable Financial Adviser! So I contacted Mr. Guiliano to see what I could do. Nick said I can't very well charge you for something you can do on your own! Then proceeded to tell me what to do. Because of the short amount of time and my untrustworthy financial adviser's not crossing tee's and dotting I's my life's savings is in the process of being transferred into 3 separate accounts. One's that will work best for me. Instead of one account that kept my money out of my reach! You will have a hard time finding a more upstanding Attorney then Mr. Guiliano!

Walter (Avvo)
"Successful in Achieving Results"

I was the one who contacted Nick through his website as my ex-wife had little or no knowledge of investments, and depended completely on the advice of the investment firm. Without specifics I can say that Nick (and his wife) were not only successful in achieving results in the case, but in the process were all that one could expect (and more) as shown in my overall ratings above. I would highly recommend him.

Joe S. (Avvo)
Excellent Attorney!

Nick represented my wife and I in a recent lawsuit. He was the best attorney we have ever used! Communication was great, he kept us updated regularly, he explained everything in great detail, gave us all our options, and most importantly we always felt he represented our best interest throughout the entire process. We would highly recommend Nick!

Brian F. (Avvo)

"One In A Million"

Nicholas is extremely knowledgeable regarding many facets of the sometimes complicated securities business. This comes from his first hand experience in the business prior to his decision to practice law. Nick is also very dedicated to staying abreast of the ever changing environment that is so prevalent in the investment world. Combine that with his drive and determination to get things done and you have one in a million!!!

Anthony S. (Avvo)
"Excellent Expertise In Securities Fraud"
Nick handled a securities fraud case for me. He is an expert in this field. He is extremely responsive with all forms of communication. Very competent and professional.
"Very Good To Work With"

My case was taken on a contingency basis. Even though it lasted about two years, the Guiliano law firm kept in contact with me, continued to research the case and brought it to a successful conclusion. They were very supportive of me in my first such experience and were very good to work with.

"Somebody you want on your side"

Personable and professional, he is the one to go to when investors are defrauded by Brokerage houses and Investment banks. Somebody you want on your side when things go wrong. He takes personal interest in every case and tries his best. Although I could not recover all my losses due to Fed/SEC action which was beyond his control, I would give Mr. Guiliano full marks on every count. He even worked with my accountants to help me write off losses due to fraud.

Ashok N. (Avvo)
"We are so very grateful"

My husband and I were lucky to find Nick after losing a substantial amount of money due to poor investing from a prominent company. He made us feel at ease right away and was always accessible for questions and concerns. Nick and his team were wonderful with gathering up all the pertinent information needed for our case, constantly in contact with us, answering all of our questions, which helped to make the process a lot less stressful. We are so very grateful to have had The Guiliano Law Firm represent us and the fact that they did it on a contingency basis made it possible to follow through. If not for them, we would never have been able to pursue this, financially or emotionally.

Stacey B. (Avvo)
"Man Of Integrity"

Nick is an incredibly decent Atty. He's a man of integrity, fairness, and honesty. You could see that it's wasn't just me who noticed, it was opposing counsel, at the end of the Zoom! I'm completely impressed with Nick and will keep him in my prayers. Thanks again!

"Fights for his clients like a bull dog"

I contacted Nicholas Guiliano for my 90 year old mother, who lives in Oregon to assist her in recovering from an unscrupulous financial manager who talked her into investing in some very high risk and speculative securities to reap high commissions. Mr Guiliano worked very hard to recover what he could for my mother. He is the best and fights for his clients like a bull dog to uphold their rights and protect their interests. I highly recommend Mr Guiliano and his firm when it comes to securities issues.

"Finest Litigation Attorneys"

I have been a Corporate Counsel for over 30 years having worked with Banks and large public companies. Nick is one of the finest litigation attorneys in the country.

Anthony P. (Google Business)
"Best Of The Best"

I have employed Nick Guiliano personally and on behalf of my clients in the past. Nick is absolutely the best securities lawyer in Philly if not the country. The best of the Best!

"Awesome Results"

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere congratulations for your awesome results. I want to acknowledge my appreciation and respect for their splendid professionalism and knowledge you have shown in handling the laws (previous and present), for arbitration over fraud litigations.

"More than most lawyers"

Mr. Guiliano is highly accomplished securities lawyer. He helped us secure a wonderful result in case where my husband and I lost almost all our lifesavings. He is also high compassionate, and did more than most lawyers have ever done for us, as he seems that he cares.

Mary S. (Avvo)
"Incredibly Resourceful"

Nick was incredibly resourceful and professional. His understanding of securities and investment fraud is unparalleled. He is indeed connected with all the powers to be , and is able to provide intellectual and cogent insights. He is tenacious in fighting for his clients, and will never relent. I was able to follow his recommendations and am glad I did.

Mark C. (Avvo)
"Superb Representation"

Mr. Guiliano (Nicholas) represented my mother and I in an investment case where it appeared the agent was preying on elderly people and steering them to improper investments to reap commissions. Mr Guilano did an excellent job of preparing the case and representing us. Although the case settled out of court, it was the best outcome expected for several technical reasons out of his control. He always kept us informed and provided sound recommendations. I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Guiliano for any investment related case.

Bob W. (Avvo)
"Recommend Him Strongly"

I used Mr. Guiliano for a investment fraud case and he did a very good job. I got a good deal of my money back that had been lost due to risky investments I was put into by a prominent company. It was not a really big case, yet Mr. Guiliano was interested and responsive and kept on top of things for me. I would recommend him strongly.

Anne H. (Avvo)
"His Ability And Advice Paid Off"

We called Mr. Guiliano after reading his article in Forbes magazine. Although we though the statue of limitations might have run out on our case, we were thrilled when he took our case. Against the odds, he was able to get a settlement for us. He kept us informed and advised us on the proper course of action. We always felt confident with his ability and advice and it paid off. Highly recommend.

Cris (Avvo)
"Ability To Think Outside The Box"

Nick Guiliano came highly recommended to me and I was very fortunate that he agreed to take my case. His knowledge of the law and his ability to think outside the box amazed me more and more as my case progressed. His aggressive style and total dedication to me and my case gave me the confidence that we were going to prevail and we did. He is one of the few Attorneys that does not finish his work at end of the day. He was always thinking of ways to use his expertise and knowledge on my behalf. On a personal note, he is a very down to earth guy who makes you very comfortable and at ease. He gave me the ability to sleep at night knowing that my case was in his hands. I will always recommend him without any reservations. In my book he is “the Best”

Jerry V. (Avvo)
"Successful in Winning"

Nicholas Guiliano was successful in winning a case against one of the firms where I had invested. I had a safe investment until a young eager stock broker took over my account and slowly kept putting my money in risky stocks, all while I was on disability. Nick was able to get me a portion of my money back within 2 months. He always was available to speak, and very courteous. I am so grateful to have found Nick. Thank you Nick!
Jill I. (Avvo)

"Absolutely Fantastic"

Nick represented me when a stock broker took advantage of the money I had in my portfolio. He did an unbelievable job because most people thought I did not have a leg to stand on. He really knows his field. I am really thankful that I met Nick because he did a phenomenal job. I would highly recommend him.

Theresa S.
"Dependable and Accessible"

Philadelphia has lived up to it's reputation as having the best attorneys in the Country. I had been told I had a problem of having a Hedge Fund investment. He went to a lot of time and trouble to not take my case. What I really appreciate is his work ethic. He was very kind to me not only with the generosity of his time, but with his words of support. No civilian, like myself, wants a lawsuit but if I ever needed one, it is Mr, Guiliano who I would call upon to represent me. He is a good man.

Kathleen (Avvo)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the signs of investment fraud?

    Signs of investment fraud include:

    • High-pressure sales tactics
    • Unsolicited offers
    • Guaranteed returns or little to no risk
    • Complex or secretive investments
    • Requests for cash or wire transfers
    • Requests to not discuss the investment with anyone
    • Requests to send money to a P.O. box or overseas address
    • Promises of high returns with little or no risk
    • Unlicensed or unregistered individuals or firms offering investments
    • Asking for personal information such as your Social Security number


  • What are the most common investment fraud schemes?

    There are several common investment fraud schemes that individuals should be aware of. Some of the most common include: Ponzi Schemes: In a Ponzi scheme, the fraudster uses funds from new investors to pay returns to existing investors, creating the illusion of a profitable investment. High-yield Investment Programs (HYIPs): These schemes promise high returns with little or no risk and often involve investments in non-existent or speculative ventures. Pyramid Schemes: In a pyramid scheme, individuals are recruited to invest and then are encouraged to recruit others to invest. The scheme relies on the constant recruitment of new investors to generate returns for earlier investors. Advance Fee Fraud: In this scheme, the fraudster requires an upfront fee in order to release the promised investment or returns. Insider Trading: Where a person uses nonpublic information to trade securities or give advice to others for personal gain. Internet Fraud: Investment fraud schemes that are advertised and promoted through the internet, such as fake websites and social media pages, are becoming increasingly common. It’s important to note that these are not the only investment fraud schemes and that new ones appear all the time. Always do your due diligence before investing and be wary of any unsolicited offers.

  • How do I find a good investment fraud attorney?

    Finding a good investment fraud attorney can take some research and effort, but it is important to ensure that you have a qualified and experienced attorney representing you. Here are some steps you can take to find a good investment fraud attorney: Ask for referrals: Ask friends, family, or other professionals for recommendations. They may have had experience with an attorney who specializes in investment fraud cases. Check credentials: Research the attorney’s credentials, such as their education, experience, and professional memberships. Look for an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state and who has experience handling investment fraud cases. Look for specialized practice: Look for an attorney who specializes in investment fraud cases, as opposed to one who handles a wide range of legal matters. This will ensure that the attorney has the necessary knowledge and experience to effectively represent you. Check the attorney’s track record: Look for an attorney who has a good track record of success in handling investment fraud cases. This may include winning cases or settlements, or being able to achieve a fair and reasonable resolution for their clients. Contact the attorney for a consultation: After you have narrowed down your list of potential attorneys, contact them for a consultation. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and get a sense of the attorney’s experience, approach, and communication style. Consider the attorney’s fees: Consider the attorney’s fees and make sure you understand how they charge for their services. Some attorneys may work on a contingency fee basis, which means they will only be paid if they win your case or obtain a settlement for you. It is important to remember that not all attorneys are created equal, and it is important to do your research to find an attorney who is qualified and experienced to handle your investment fraud case.

  • Can lawyers help investment fraud victims?

    Yes, lawyers can help investment fraud victims. Investment fraud can take many forms, such as Ponzi schemes, securities fraud, and insider trading. It can cause significant financial losses for investors, and it can be difficult for them to navigate the legal process on their own. A lawyer who has experience with securities fraud and investment fraud cases can help victims in several ways: Investigating the case: A lawyer can investigate the fraud by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing financial records to determine the extent of the fraud and the parties involved. Identifying possible legal claims: A lawyer can help victims identify any potential legal claims they may have, such as securities fraud or breach of fiduciary duty. Filing a lawsuit: A lawyer can file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim to seek damages and compensation for the losses suffered as a result of the fraud. Representation in court: A lawyer can represent the victim in court and advocate on their behalf. Helping in FINRA arbitration: A lawyer can help victims file a claim with FINRA and represent them in the FINRA arbitration process. It is important to note that while lawyers can help investment fraud victims, it is not a guarantee that the victim will recover their lost funds or any compensation.

  • Why Do I Need a Securities or Investment Fraud Attorney?

    Securities or investment fraud can be a complex and technical area of law, and the services of an experienced attorney can be invaluable in navigating the legal process. Here are a few reasons why you may need a securities or investment fraud attorney: Proving Fraud: Proving fraud can be difficult and requires a thorough understanding of securities laws and regulations, as well as the ability to analyze financial data and interview witnesses. An attorney can help you gather and present the evidence needed to prove fraud. Navigating the Legal System: Securities and investment fraud cases can involve multiple government agencies and regulatory bodies, such as the SEC and FINRA. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your case is handled properly. Protecting Your Rights: An attorney can help you understand your rights as an investor and advocate for your interests in legal proceedings. They can also help you pursue civil or criminal action against the fraudster. Recovering Losses: An attorney can help you pursue legal action to recover your financial losses, including through arbitration and litigation. Avoiding Limitation periods: There are limitation periods for filing a claim, an attorney can help you to file a claim in time and avoid missing out on your right to recover your losses. Representing you in front of regulatory bodies: An attorney can help you to communicate with regulatory bodies such as SEC and FINRA and represent you in front of them. Overall, an attorney can provide you with legal guidance and representation throughout the process of pursuing a securities or investment fraud case, and can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

  • What is contingency-fee legal representation?

    Contingency fee legal representation is a type of fee arrangement where a lawyer represents a client in a legal matter and only gets paid if the client wins or settles their case. In a contingency fee arrangement, the lawyer will agree to take on a case, and the client will not have to pay any legal fees upfront. Instead, the lawyer will only be paid if the case is successful. The fee is typically a percentage of the settlement or award that the client receives, with the percentage varying depending on the type of case and the lawyer’s experience. This type of fee arrangement is beneficial for clients who may not have the financial resources to pay a lawyer’s hourly rate or retainer upfront. It also aligns the interests of the lawyer and the client, as the lawyer will be motivated to work hard to achieve a positive outcome for the client in order to be paid. It is important to note that not all types of legal cases are eligible for contingency fee representation, and not all lawyers offer this type of representation. It is also important to understand that if the case is not successful, the client will not be responsible for paying the lawyer’s fees. However, the client may still be responsible for certain expenses such as court fees, expert witness fees, etc. It is also important to understand the terms of the contingency fee agreement before signing, such as the percentage of the award that the attorney will take as fees, and whether or not the attorney will also be reimbursed for expenses.

  • What is a fiduciary?

    A fiduciary is a person or organization that is legally bound to act in the best interests of another party. This often refers to financial advisors, investment managers, and trustees, who have a legal duty to put the financial interests of their clients or beneficiaries first. They are also required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest and make full disclosure of all relevant information to the parties to whom they owe a fiduciary duty.


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