Fighting for Investors
- Where Do I File a Claim Against My Financial Advisor?
- What Is Arbitration?
- Do I Need a Lawyer for an Arbitration?
- What Is a Contingency Fee Arrangement with a Lawyer?
- Do I Need to Pay a Lawyer to Evaluate and Investigate a Case?
- How Long Does an Arbitration Last?
- Do I Have a Good Investment Fraud Case?
The answer to this question will depend on if your advisor is a FINRA registered advisor or if they are a registered investment advisor (RIA) representative registered with the SEC or states.
FINRA registered advisors work for FINRA Broker-Dealer brokerage firms, and their new account agreements will always require that any disputes ( securities fraud, churning, unauthorized trading, unsuitable recommendations, etc.) must be resolved in FINRA arbitration.
RIAs have more discretion regarding any dispute resolution provisions in their new account contracts with customers. They often require arbitration, but they may reference forums other than FINRA, such as AAA or JAMS. If one does not have a signed arbitration agreement with the advisory firm, one may file the claim in court.
Arbitration is an alternative means of resolving disputes versus going to court. If one opened an investment account with a FINRA brokerage firm or RIA, their agreements will often require that disputes be resolved in arbitration rather than court.
In arbitration, discovery (the exchange of documents and information) will often be more limited than in court, and depositions are typically not allowed.
Rather than a trial with a jury and/or judge, the dispute will ultimately be decided in arbitration by an appointed arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. Arbitrations are supposed to be faster and cheaper than going to court, but that is not always the case. The right to appeal an adverse arbitration award is much more limited than in court.
Customers may represent themselves in arbitration, but it is not advisable. Brokerage firms will almost always have their own experienced lawyers, and customers will be better off being represented by an experienced securities fraud arbitration lawyer. W. Scott Greco has twenty-five years of experience arbitrating disputes between customers and their securities firms.
When a securities fraud customer hires a lawyer on a contingency fee, the lawyer does not charge the customer for time spent on the case, and does not require the payment of a fee retainer. The lawyer only charges as their attorneys fee a percentage of the amount recovered for the client, through settlement or payment of an award/judgment. If no money is recovered for the client in the case, then the attorney is not paid a fee.
Greco & Greco provides a free consultation with one of our attorneys to determine if your case is one for which we can represent you. If the initial review is promising, we will further investigate the case at no charge. This will typically include review of relevant documents, and several meetings to discuss the facts of the case by phone, Zoom, or in person. After our investigation, if we think the case is worth pursuing, we will prepare and discuss a Retainer Agreement to hire our firm for your claim, typically on a contingency fee.
Most FINRA arbitrations are resolved through a settlement or arbitration award in approximately a year, or sometimes longer. For elderly or seriously ill customers, FINRA arbitration provides for an expedited procedure which speeds up the various time periods in arbitration with the goal of expediting the final resolution to shorter than a year.
The Virginia Securities Fraud Lawyers of Greco & Greco represent customers from across the country in arbitrations and court cases against their financial advisors. Please contact Scott Greco for a free attorney consultation about your case.