Fighting for Investors
The Securities Fraud Lawyers at Greco & Greco, P.C. regularly represent residents from across the country, including Montana, in disputes with their financial advisors and securities salespersons, involving claims of suitability, violations of FINRA Rules, negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, ponzi schemes, breach of fiduciary duty, violations of Reg BI, professional malpractice, and other claims. Please contact Scott Greco for a free securities attorney consultation about your case. We serve clients from all areas of Montana, including Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Butte-Silver Bow, Helena, Kalispell, Belgrade, Havre, and Anaconda.Decades of FINRA Arbitration Experience
If an individual investor has a dispute with a FINRA brokerage firm or stock broker, he/she most likely will have to arbitrate through FINRA's Dispute Resolution system. FINRA Arbitration holds arbitration hearings in one Montana city, Helena. FINRA also provides a mediation forum for investors to settle their claims against their investment firms. The securities fraud attorneys at Greco & Greco have decades of experience trying and settling investor claims in FINRA arbitration.Contingency Fees for Harmed Montana Investors
We understand that many of our clients cannot afford to hire an attorney because they have lost a large portion of their life savings. Our attorneys regularly represent harmed investors charging only a contingency fee. This means that our clients do not have to pay any attorneys fees up front, and only pay us out of monies recovered in your case.Montana State Auditor's Office and Montana Securities Act
The Montana State Auditor's Office, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, is the securities regulator in Montana. It oversees securities regulation and registration, disciplines Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors, and further regulates the insurance industry. One can file a complaint and report securities fraud through the Commissioner's website, but one should consult with a securities fraud attorney if one believes they have been defrauded with regard to investments.
The Montana Securities Act provides for civil liability for fraud or misrepresentations in the sale of securities. Damages under the civil liability section of the act can include rescission, damages if the securities or investments have been sold, interest, and reasonable attorneys fees.
Common Legal Claims by investors in Montana against their financial advisors
- Suitability/Regulation Best Interest. Prior to recommending the purchase of specific investments or a specific investment strategy to a customer, a stock broker in Montana is required to determine that the investments are suitable to that particular investor. A suitability determination is based upon many different factors such as age, investment objectives, risk tolerance, employment situation, needs, income, assets, and investment experience. If an advisor’s recommendations of unsuitable investments result in the investor incurring significant losses, that investor may have a suitability claim against the broker and his/her firm. In 2020 the suitability rule was superseded by SEC Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) which requires recommendations of purchases of securities and investment strategies to be in the customer's best interest.
- Churning. Churning occurs when a broker exercises control over an account and allows the broker's interest in making commissions to override the investor's interests in the account. When a broker makes a buy or sell recommendation for an account, that broker should have the investor's best interests based on their investment objectives in mind. If the broker makes excessive buy and sell recommendations for the purposes of generating commissions for the broker by each buy and sell, that broker is engaged in churning the account. Excessive turnover in the assets of the account and/or a high cost to equity percentage are often a sign of churning.
- Unauthorized Trading. Generally, an investor can have two kinds of an account, non-discretionary and discretionary. In a typical non-discretionary account, the broker must consult with and obtain the consent of the customer prior to making a trade in the account. Unauthorized trading occurs when a broker makes trades in a non-discretionary account without the consent of the customer.
- Securities Fraud. Most of the claims in this list are subsets of securities fraud which is employing a device, scheme, or artifice to defraud, or obtaining money by means of untrue statements of material facts and failure to state material facts in violation of the Montana Securities Act or federal law (Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5). If a broker makes false statements to an investor or fails to advise the investor of certain important facts, the investor may be able to recover losses incurred resulting from this fraud.
- Margin Disputes. Margin trading involves borrowing money from the brokerage firm to purchase securities greater in value than the equity in an investor's account. Due to the risky nature of trading on the margin, disputes with brokers often arise as a result of significant losses. If a broker trades on the margin without the knowledge or consent of the investor, the investor may be able to recover the losses resulting from the fraud.
- Ponzi Scheme Investment Scams. Ponzi schemes generally involve promises of high returns by salespersons over short periods of time, but in reality result in stealing from Peter to pay Paul. Because returns to investors in ponzi schemes are often paid out of new investment monies from new investors, the scheme will ultimately fall apart when the new investors dry up, leaving all investors often holding a worthless investment. Financial Advisors and their brokerage firms who sell ponzi scheme fraudulent investments may be found liable for selling unsuitable investments, securities fraud, sale of unregistered securities, failure to supervise, and other legal violations.
- Failure to Supervise Broker. FINRA firms in Montana have a duty to supervise their registered brokers, and their failure to do so may form the basis of various legal claims against them. FINRA Rule 3110 states: Each member shall establish and maintain a system to supervise the activities of each registered representative, registered principal, and other associated person that is reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable securities laws and regulations, and with applicable FINRA Rules. Final responsibility for proper supervision shall rest with the member.
Please contact our Montana securities fraud lawyers for a free consultation if you are an Montana resident and believe your financial advisor broker may be liable under one of the above claims, or for other wrongful conduct.