Broker-Dealers, Financial Advisors, and Registered Representatives

Professionals in the securities industry understand risk. Broker-dealers and registered representatives, financial planners, investment advisers, and brokerage and investment firm executives operate in a market predicated on assessing, avoiding, accepting, and mitigating various risks to suit each client’s or customer’s goals and interests. But in addition to the known risks presented in regards to advising customers and making/managing customer investments, professionals in the industry also face the ever-present and ever-changing risks of liabilities, claims, disputes, investigations, enforcement actions, and regulatory burdens. This includes the risks presented to broker-dealers and financial services firms arising from employment disputes with their registered representatives and financial advisors.

Our team’s experience defending and counseling broker-dealers, registered representatives, financial advisors, and related financial industry service professionals stretches back past the market upheavals of the 80s, the dotcom boom and bust, and the Great Recession, and through the current claims and regulatory landscape. We have the experience and insight to recognize the trends in professional liability claims and enforcement actions that follow market cycles and affect our clients — and we recognize the special risks these professionals face advising and managing their customers’ accounts today.

We represent clients in securities litigations and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations nationwide, and also counsel clients through issues involving the full spectrum of securities industry-specific claims, investigations, and enforcement actions. With an authoritative understanding of the applicable regulations and an unsurpassed knowledge of how to navigate the process of arbitration and regulatory inquiries, we help clients minimize the impact of regulatory enforcement and customer complaints. Our services include:

  • Providing legal counsel during regulatory inquiries
  • Defending clients under investigation for regulatory matters
  • Guiding clients through the arbitration process, from complaint through hearing
  • Using alternative dispute resolution methods to obtain quick settlements of claims
  • Assessing and advising clients on evolving FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations (SROs) rules, regulations, and procedures

Securities Litigation Defense

Our attorneys have counseled and represented broker-dealers and their registered representatives in FINRA arbitrations, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) matters, and litigation under federal and state securities and corporate banking laws, including matters involving:

  • Accounting fraud allegations
  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Churning
  • Claims arising from stock acquisitions and other corporate transfers
  • ERISA and trust law claims
  • Failure to diversify
  • Failure to use due diligence
  • Federal and state securities litigation
  • FINRA dispute resolution arbitrations
  • Fraud and misrepresentation
  • Negligent supervision
  • Public offering litigation
  • Proxy litigation and contests for control
  • Selling away claims
  • Shareholder derivative litigation
  • Suitability disputes
  • Underperformance
  • Violation of blue sky laws

We also represent broker-dealers and registered representatives in intra-industry disputes, including disputes related to buying and selling agreements, promissory notes, and trade secrets.

Regulatory Investigations and Actions

We frequently represent brokers and advisors in securities-related regulatory investigations, acting quickly to assess the investigation and limit its impact on our clients’ business and professional reputation, either through dismissal of the matter or negotiation to contain the investigation’s scope. Our experience covers regulatory investigations pertaining to allegedly unlawful conduct including:

  • Advisor compensation
  • Advisor registration
  • Client solicitation arrangements
  • Custody of client assets
  • Fiduciary obligations
  • FINRA investigations and proceedings
  • Marketing of investment services
  • Registration/Form U4 and U5 issues
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations and
  • State enforcement and regulatory investigations and proceedings
  • Undisclosed judgments or liens

Risk and Litigation Avoidance and Ongoing Counsel

We offer our clients ongoing counsel and risk-management advice on a range of general securities fraud/litigation and compliance issues, including:

  • Adherence to new regulatory enactments
  • Books and records concerns
  • Clearance, prime broker, and settlement issues
  • Competing PATRIOT Act and Privacy Act requirements
  • Electronic communications network (ECN) issues
  • Financial responsibility concerns
  • Front office and sales practice regulations
  • Marketing and advertising initiatives
  • Preparation of Supervisory Procedures
  • Quote and order display rules
  • Registration and qualification
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements
  • Security Futures product advertising

Industry-Specific Legal Counsel and Other Business Services

Goldberg Segalla’s clients often develop close professional relationships with one or two attorneys who act as trusted counselors — but those same clients know that each attorney is backed by the might, experience, and collaborative capabilities of the entire national, full-service, 400-lawyer firm. Our Management and Professional Liability attorneys understand the industry-specific risks that broker-dealers, financial advisors, registered representatives, and other financial industry professionals face. But when their clients confront legal issues of any other nature — from discriminatory employment or hiring practices claims to issues involving the intellectual property underlying trading platforms — they can quickly mobilize attorneys across the rest of the firm’s footprint and practices to help the client reach the best-informed strategic legal solution.

We regularly assemble tailored, interdisciplinary teams to handle the diverse needs of our clients. We have particularly deep experience representing securities and finance industry clients in the context of complex employment and labor issues and employment practices disputes. We also have exceptionally qualified attorneys, recognized as leaders in their fields, in practices including Cybersecurity and Data Privacy, E-Discovery, Intellectual Property, Global Insurance Services, Class Action Litigation, Mergers and Acquisitions, International Commercial Transactions, Bankruptcy, White Collar Defense, and Appellate Law — all of whom are ready to leverage their skills for any client, anywhere, at any time.