The Fiduciary Duty Rule Lives!

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary duty rule – proposed under the Obama administration – was thought to be dead on arrival when Donald Trump was elected president.   The Obama administration over several years created the rule because it claimed that conflicted financial advice costs American families $17 billion a year and pushes down annual returns on retirement …

Will Illinois Bondholders Suffer The Same Fate As Puerto Rico?

Mom and pop bondholders in fiscally troubled Illinois could soon find themselves in the same rocky boat as Puerto Rico bond investors. Puerto Rico this month declared bankruptcy on $123 billion in debt and pension obligations. Indeed, Puerto Rico has become, in the immortal words of Thomas Hobbes, “the war of all against all” with …

13 Investment Firms Face Millions in Fines for Recordkeeping and Disclosure Violations

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the oversight entity authorized by Congress to take action against investment advisors and advisory firms that harm investors, recently announced that it has fined thirteen investment firms more than $17.5 million for recordkeeping and disclosure violations. The firms facing fines are: Deutsche Bank First Clearing, LLC Georgeson Securities Corporation …

Financial Advisor Sentenced in $21 Million Ponzi Scheme

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced the sentencing of a Rhode Island financial advisor who admitted to misappropriating $21 million in investors’ funds and using other investors’ funds as collateral to secure a personal $2.5 million home loan for a waterfront property. Patrick Churchville, owner of ClearPath Wealth Management, LLC (“ClearPath”), will serve …

Chicago-Based Advisor Facing SEC Charges for Fraud Targeting Senior Investors

Investment fraud scams targeting senior citizens have long been on the federal government’s list of priorities. As we reported in 2015, brokers often sell complex and risky investment products to senior investors without adequately explaining the risks, and in many cases without disclosing the high commissions they earn from the sales. Last year, we covered …

Puerto Rico’s May Day

When a ship is in danger of capsizing and drowning its passengers, the Captain yells, May Day! May Day!   Puerto Rico’s new governor, Dr. Ricardo Rossello, is facing a May Day call as the island is drowning in debt.   Many political balls are in the air right now. It appears that the Trump administration has …

Recent DOJ and SEC Charges Against Pastors Demonstrate Risks of Affinity Fraud

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued separate press releases warning investors nationwide of the risks of affinity fraud schemes – schemes targeting individuals within certain groups or affiliations – being perpetrated by religious leaders. The press releases discuss two separate cases in which pastors have been accused …

New FINRA Rule Seeks to Enhance Protections for Senior Investors

In March 2017, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt two rule changes designed to help protect senior investors against investment fraud. The changes focus on preventing unauthorized access to investors’ accounts and preventing disbursements from investors’ accounts when there is an apparent risk of …

Unexpected Investment Losses? 6 Key Facts About Securities Arbitration

For individual investors, securities arbitration through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) provides a streamlined opportunity to recover fraudulent investment losses. If you have experienced sudden and unexpected losses in your investment account, here are six key facts you need to know about FINRA arbitration: 1. To File, Your Broker or Advisor Must be Registered …

The Final Countdown To Puerto Rico’s May 1 Deadline

Puerto Rico is facing a May 1 deadline to restructure its $70 billion debt. At that time, a freeze on lawsuits against Puerto Rico will expire. The clock is ticking on Puerto Rico. Last year, the U.S. Congress passed a Puerto Rico rescue law called “PROMESA,” which halted creditor lawsuits against the island commonwealth. It …