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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 Jackson, Mississippi.

The Securities Fraud Lawyers at Greco & Greco, P.C. represent residents from Mississippi 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, professional malpractice, and other claims.  Please contact Scott Greco for a free attorney consultation about your case.  We serve clients from all areas of Mississippi including Jackson, Gulfport, Southaven, Biloxi, Hattiesburg, Olive Branch, Tupelo, Meridian, Greenville, and Oxford.

The Securities and Charities Division of the Office of the Mississippi Secretary of State in Jackson, Mississippi regulates the sales of securities in the state of Mississippi. Its website [ http://www.scag.gov/scsecurities] provides information on state securities Statutes and Rules, and other securities resources.

Mississippi's Securities Act is similar to many states' Acts with regard to providing for civil liability for the commission of securities fraud in the sale of securities (including untrue statements of material fact or omissions of material fact). The statute provides for rescission (or damages if the investor no longer owns the security), reasonable attorney's fees, and interest.

Common Legal Claims by investors against their financial advisors in Mississippi are:

A. Suitability. Prior to recommending the purchase of specific investments or a specific investment strategy to a customer, a stock broker 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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 state blue sky / securities laws 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.

E. 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.

F. 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.

G. Failure to Supervise Broker. FINRA firms 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.

Examples of legal grounds for liability of Broker-Dealers in these situations include:

a) under tort and agency law, principals can be found liable for the acts of their agents even if they are entirely innocent and have received no benefit from the transaction;

b) a broker's Broker-Dealer can also be found liable as a control person of that broker under state and federal securities laws; and

c) claims can be pursued in arbitration based on violations of FINRA rules including Rules related to supervision, suitability, and outside business activities.

Obviously, this list is by no means comprehensive and all of the legal requirements of the above claims stated are not completely set out. This web site is not intended to give legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact our securities lawyers for a free consultation if you believe your financial advisor broker may be liable under one of the above claims, or for other wrongful conduct.

Mississippi Code § 75-71-509. Civil liability.

(a)  Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. Enforcement of civil liability under this section is subject to the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998.
(b) Liability of seller to purchaser. A person is liable to the purchaser if the person sells a security in violation of Section 75-71-301 or, by means of an untrue statement of a material fact or an omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statement made, in light of the circumstances under which it is made, not misleading, the purchaser not knowing the untruth or omission and the seller not sustaining the burden of proof that the seller did not know and, in the exercise of reasonable care, could not have known of the untruth or omission. An action under this subsection is governed by the following:
(1) The purchaser may maintain an action to recover the consideration paid for the security, less the amount of any income received on the security, and interest at the legal rate of interest from the date of the purchase, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees determined by the court, upon the tender of the security, or for actual damages as provided in paragraph (3).
(2) The tender referred to in paragraph (1) may be made any time before entry of judgment. Tender requires only notice in a record of ownership of the security and willingness to exchange the security for the amount specified. A purchaser that no longer owns the security may recover actual damages as provided in paragraph (3).
(3) Actual damages in an action arising under this subsection (b) are the amount that would be recoverable upon a tender less the value of the security when the purchaser disposed of it, and interest at the legal rate of interest from the date of the purchase, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees determined by the court.
(c)  Liability of purchaser to seller. A person is liable to the seller if the person buys a security by means of an untrue statement of a material fact or omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statement made, in light of the circumstances under which it is made, not misleading, the seller not knowing of the untruth or omission, and the purchaser not sustaining the burden of proof that the
purchaser did not know, and in the exercise of reasonable care, could not have known of the untruth or omission. An action under this subsection is governed by the following:
(1) The seller may maintain an action to recover the security, and any income received on the security, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees determined by the court, upon the tender of the purchase price, or for actual damages as provided in paragraph (3).
(2) The tender referred to in paragraph (1) may be made any time before entry of judgment. Tender requires only notice in a record of the present ability to pay the amount tendered and willingness to take delivery of the security for the amount specified. If the purchaser no longer owns the security, the seller may recover actual damages as provided in paragraph (3).
(3) Actual damages in an action arising under this subsection (c) are the difference between the price at which the security was sold and the value the security would have had at the time of the sale in the absence of the purchaser's conduct causing liability, and interest at the legal rate of interest from the date of the sale of the security, costs and reasonable attorney's fees determined by the court.
(d) Liability of unregistered broker-dealer and agent. A person acting as a broker-dealer or agent that sells or buys a security in violation of Section 75-71-401(a), 75-71-402(a), or Section 75-71-506 is liable to the customer. The customer, if a purchaser, may maintain an action for recovery of actual damages as specified in subsection (b)(1) through (3), or, if a seller, for a remedy as specified in subsection (c)(1)
through (3).
(e)  Liability of unregistered investment adviser and investment adviser representative. A person acting as an investment adviser or investment adviser representative that provides investment advice for compensation in violation of Section 75-71-403(a), Section 75-71-404(a), or Section 75-71-506 is liable to the client. The client may maintain an action to recover the consideration paid for the advice, interest at
the legal rate of interest from the date of payment, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees determined by the court.
(f)  Liability for investment advice. A person that receives directly or indirectly any  consideration for providing investment advice to another person and that employs a device, scheme, or artifice to defraud the other person or engages in an act, practice, or course of business that operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit on the other person, is liable to the other person. An action under this subsection is governed by the following:
(f)  Liability for investment advice. A person that receives directly or indirectly any  consideration for providing investment advice to another person and that employs a device, scheme, or artifice to defraud the other person or engages in an act, practice, or course of business that operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit on the other person, is liable to the other person. An action under this subsection is governed by the following:
(1) The person defrauded may maintain an action to recover the consideration paid for the advice and the amount of any actual damages caused by the fraudulent conduct, interest at the legal rate of interest from the date of the fraudulent conduct, costs, and reasonable attorney's fees determined by the court, less the amount of any income received as a result of the fraudulent conduct.
(2) This subsection (f) does not apply to a broker-dealer or its agents if the investment advice provided is solely incidental to transacting business as a broker-dealer and no special compensation is received for the investment advice.
(g) Joint and several liability. The following persons are liable jointly and severally with and to the same extent as persons liable under subsections (b) through (f):
(1) A person that directly or indirectly controls a person liable under subsections (b) through (f), unless the controlling person sustains the burden of proof that the person did not know, and in the exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the existence of conduct by reason of which the liability is alleged to exist;
(2) An individual who is a managing partner, executive officer, or director of a person liable under subsections (b) through (f), including an individual having a similar status or performing similar functions, unless the individual sustains the burden of proof that the individual did not know and, in the exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the existence of conduct by reason of which the liability is alleged to exist;
(3) An individual who is an employee of or associated with a person liable under subsections (b) through (f) and who materially aids the conduct giving rise to the liability, unless the individual sustains the burden of proof that the individual did not know and, in the exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the existence of conduct by reason of which the liability is alleged to exist; and
(4) A person that is a broker-dealer, agent, investment adviser, or investment adviser representative that materially aids the conduct giving rise to the liability under subsections (b) through (f), unless the person sustains the burden of proof that the person did not know and, in the exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the existence of conduct by reason of which liability is alleged to exist.
(h) Right of contribution. A person liable under this section has a right of contribution as in cases of contract against any other person liable under this section for the same conduct.
(i)  Survival of cause of action. A cause of action under this section survives the death of an individual who might have been a plaintiff or defendant.
(j)  Statute of limitations. A person may not obtain relief:
(1) Under subsection (b) for violation of Section 75-71-301, or under subsection (d) or (e), unless the action is instituted within one (1) year after the violation occurred; or
(2) Under subsection (b), other than for violation of Section 75-71-301, or under subsection (c) or (f), unless the action is instituted within the earlier of two (2) years after discovery of the facts constituting the violation or five (5) years after the violation.
(k) No enforcement of violative contract. A person that has made, or has engaged in the performance of, a contract in violation of this chapter or a rule adopted or order issued under this chapter, or that has acquired a purported right under the contract with knowledge of conduct by reason of which its making or performance was in violation of this chapter, may not base an action on the contract.
(l)  No contractual waiver. A condition, stipulation, or provision binding a person purchasing or selling a security or receiving investment advice to waive compliance with this chapter or a rule adopted or order issued under this chapter is void.
(m) Survival of other rights or remedies. The rights and remedies provided by this chapter are in addition to any other rights or remedies that may exist, but this chapter does not create a cause of action not specified in this section or Section 75-71-411(e).

FINRA securities brokerage firms with their main offices in Mississippi:

BALLEW INVESTMENTS, INC.
4800 I-55 NORTH, SUITE 21, JACKSON, MS 39211
Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 14888, JACKSON, MS 39236-4888

BANCORPSOUTH INVESTMENT SERVICES, INC.
525 EAST CAPITOL STREET, JACKSON, MS 39201

COKER & PALMER
1667 LELIA DRIVE, JACKSON, MS 39216

RIVES, LEAVELL & CO.
1430 LELIA DRIVE, JACKSON, MS 39216
Mailing Address: P. O. BOX 4900, JACKSON, MS 39296