Wall Street Sharks Entice Customers with Securities-Backed Loans

As the stock market coasts along at all-time highs, market observers are sensing that a big correction – a fall of at least 10% in the broad market – is on the horizon. At a time when many observers say financial hazards are sharply increasing, Wall Street firms are pumping risk into their customers’ accounts …

The Financial Wrong Choice Act

Last month, the Republican controlled House of Representatives passed the “Financial Choice Act,” which, if passed in the Senate, and then signed into law, would gut reforms to the financial system created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Democrats immediately dubbed it the “Wrong Choice Act” because it would eviscerate Dodd-Frank, which imposed regulations on Wall …

Recap: What Bond Investors Need to Know about Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

Now that Puerto Rico has filed for bankruptcy protection, many investors living in the island territory and on the U.S. mainland are anxiously awaiting a final resolution. How did we get here, and what can investors in Puerto Rico’s municipal bonds reasonably expect? Here is a recap of our coverage of the Puerto Rico debt …

Is Illinois The Next Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy in May. That is likely to wreak havoc on investments held by many Mom and Pop investors on the island. The state of Illinois seems to be following Puerto Rico’s lead. Will Mom and Pop investors who own Illinois bonds face a similar crisis? On June 1, the day after …

What Does It Take for FINRA to Bar an Investment Advisor?

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is a non-governmental organization that has Congressional authorization to regulate the financial services industry, and it is one of the key watchdogs helping to protect individual investors against fraudulent investment losses. Investment advisors working in the United States must register with FINRA, and FINRA has the authority to take …

Puerto Rico Filed for Bankruptcy. What Now?

Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy on May 3, 2017, setting in motion an uncertain chain of events that will not only have drastic consequences for the territory’s bondholders, but which could also provide guidance for other United States territories – such as the U.S. Virgin Islands which is currently carrying a $2 billion debt load …

Investment Advisors and Advisory Firms Facing Disciplinary Action from FINRA

Each month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) publishes a report of disciplinary actions taken against brokerage firms and investment advisors. You can find reports dating back to 1996 on FINRA’s website: Monthly and Quarterly Disciplinary Actions. Here is a summary of some of the most-noteworthy actions from FINRA’s report for June 2017: New York …

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 …