Financial Adviser Legal Information Center

Featured Books

Securities Law in a Nutshell is an excellent introduction to the United States securities law.

Broker-Dealer Regulation in a Nutshell  is a similar introduction, and while the laws regulating broker-dealers are complex, this book provides an overview of the concepts and regulations.

Investment Adviser Regulation: A Step-by-Step Guide to Compliance and The Law  is an excellent starting point for understanding the regulation of investment advisers.

 


Recent Blog Posts

Expungement of Customer Complaints FINRA‘s BrokerCheck is a boon for investors and their attorneys, but a real problem for financial professionals.  The concept of disclosing every allegation, justified or not, against a registered person, to anyone who cares to ask, is unheard of in our system of justice. No other professional has unproven customer complaints available in a database. ...

List of Firms Using Inaccurate Information  The SEC maintains a list of unregistered entities that it alleges uses misleading information to solicit non-US investors  known as PAUSEor fake firms. It recently updated that list  to add four firms that are impersonating real firms, and 9 bogus firms. The list, known as the Public Alert: Unregistered Soliciting Entities (PAUSE) list, enables investors to better ...

Victims of $102 Million Ponzi Scheme The Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges and obtained an asset freeze against the individuals and companies behind a $102 million Ponzi scheme that bilked investors throughout the U.S. According to the SEC’s press release, the defendants defrauded more than 600 investors through sales of securities in issuers they controlled, including First Nationle Solution LLC, United ...

Merrill Lynch Admits Masking to Defraud Customers The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith with misleading customers about how it handled their orders.  Merrill Lynch agreed to settle the charges, admit wrongdoing, and pay a $42 million penalty. According to the SEC’s order, Merrill Lynch falsely informed customers that it had executed millions of orders internally when it ...

U.S. Opens Criminal Probe Into Trading in Fannie, Freddie Bonds  The U.S. has opened a criminal investigation into whether traders manipulated prices in the $550 billion market for unsecured bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to people familiar with the matter.The probe, parts of which were described by four people familiar with it, shows that investigations by the Obama Justice Department into ...

Featured Articles

Customer Claims in Arbitration I have been representing customers and brokers in securities arbitration matters since 1982. In those 35 years I have handled over 600 securities arbitration cases. Since securities arbitration is such ...

Expungement of Customer Complaints The problems associated with FINRA‘s CRD Disclosure System are well known to visitors to SECLaw.com, as we have written about the issue a number of times. The concept of disclosing ...

Insider Trading – The Legal and Illegal I have been representing investors and financial professionals in insider trading investigations for over 30 years, starting in the mid-1980’s when my then partner and I represented a financial printer ...

Introduction to State Securities (Blue Sky) Laws Mark Astarita, Esq. is a nationally recognized securities attorney who represents investors, financial professionals, issuers and financial firms in a wide variety of matters involving federal and state securities laws. ...

Federal Securities Law, a Securities Lawyer Guide The SEC, FINRA, the States, and much more Introduction The history of the securities regulation and federal securities law are well beyond the scope of this work, and the reader is commended to any ...

Securities Arbitration Hearing Overview  Just What Happens at an Arbitration? By Mark J. Astarita, Esq. Past columns have touched on arbitration hearings, and have raised the question just what happens during an arbitration hearing. It seems ...

Finders Explained – Be Careful   A question I am often asked is what is the definition of a finder, or questions that lead to that question. The issue arises when an unregistered person or entity ...

Cold Calling Rules Compliance with securities regulations is only the beginning By Mark J. Astarita, Esq. Introduction Cold calling is a method of marketing a service or product by calling prospective clients “cold” – that is, ...

The Wells Notice SEC/FINRA Investigations By Mark Astarita Being the subject, target, or even a witness in an SEC or a FINRAinvestigation is not a pleasant experience. As I discussed in my column “When the SEC ...

Overview of the Securities Arbitration Process Start to Finish, a complete Walk-through by veteran securities arbitration attorney Mark Astarita. Nationally known securities attorney Mark Astarita has represented broker-dealers, investment advisers, hedge funds, investment partnerships, individual brokers ...

Introductory Materials

Introduction to the Federal Securities Laws – written by securities lawyer Mark Astarita, an overview of the federal regulatory scheme for the financial markets. Written for the non-lawyer, with links to more detailed information

Introduction to the Blue Sky Laws (State Securities Laws) – In addition to the Federal Securities Laws, each state has its own securities laws. Those laws vary from state to state, and require registration or notification of securities offerings, and registration of brokers and brokerage firms. Each state has a regulatory agency which administers the law, typically known as the state Securities Commissioner. This introduction provides an overview of the regulatory scheme. A list of state securities commissioners and their addresses is available in our Guide to State Securities Regulators.

Introduction to Securities Arbitration – In general, and in the securities industry, a party cannot be compelled to arbitrate a dispute unless he has contractually bound himself to do so. Registered representatives and their firms are contractually bound to arbitrate their disputes with their customers, even in the absence of a written contract with the customer. The contractual obligation arises, not from a customer agreement, but their registration with FINRA. For customers and financial professionals, an introduction to the process, from start to finish.

Introduction to the Initial Public Offering Process – in the Corporate Finance section, an introduction to the public offering process

Introduction to Private Placements – in addition to public offerings, many companies raise money by selling securities in a private offering. There are many restrictions and caveats to the process.

Introduction to Insider Trading – there is legal insider trading and illegal insider trading. When investors, regardless of their relationship to the company, trade on material, non-public information, there is a risk that the trading is illegal.

Registration of Investment Advisors – one of our featured articles, an introduction to becoming an investment adviser and what you need to know to start an advisory firm

Guide to Broker-Dealer Registration an updated version of the SEC’s original guide is now online.