Los Angeles Securities Lawyer

Southern California Attorney Protecting Investors Burned by Their Brokers

Los Angeles securities lawyer Steve A. Buchwalter has over 20 years of experience. He is a former licensed commodity trading adviser and stockbroker who now deploys his experience and insights to represent investors who have been harmed. He has also appeared before the U.S. Senate as an expert witness on broker practices. Each of our staff members has accumulated prior experience as a licensed stockbroker, and each of us understands the complexities of the financial issues faced by our clients.

Securities Law

Brokers and financial advisers have an advantage over investors, even experienced investors, since they work in the financial industry each day. Brokers and investment advisers in California should use good faith, loyalty, and reasonable care in handling securities transactions or offering securities advice to customers. Unfortunately, some of these professionals perpetrate fraud by withholding important information or giving false information. Some churn accounts, make unauthorized trades, or act deceptively. If you believe that your investment adviser or broker violated securities laws, you can sue for damages in federal or state court, or you may be able to bring a claim before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA is engaged in oversight of the financial services industry and is authorized by Congress to enact regulations and enforce actions against securities firms and brokers who violate FINRA's rules.

Fraud

Investors must be served with integrity and competence under both state and federal securities laws. California law is usually more favorable than federal law. A securities attorney can help Los Angeles residents hold brokers accountable when they cause losses through their fraud, misrepresentations, or omissions. In California, financial advisers need to follow California Corporations Code section 25401, which bars the making of false statements and the omission of important information when selling securities. If you are suing for fraud under California law, you will need to bring the action within the earlier of five years after the transaction at issue or two years after discovering the omission or representation that you believe constitutes fraud.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

An investment adviser gives advice about securities for a fee and is regulated by the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. Under California and federal laws, investment advisers owe a fiduciary duty to clients. This means that they are supposed to place their clients' interests above their own. For example, they are supposed to disclose all of the material facts about an investment and give advice that meets a client's financial objectives. California imposes a fiduciary duty on brokers as well. In California, a broker has a fiduciary duty to fully and fairly disclose all material facts, make sure that a customer understands an investment's risks based on their financial interests, and keep customers informed about every completed transaction. If you believe that an adviser or broker put their own interests above yours, you may have a claim for a breach of fiduciary duty.

Misrepresentation

Brokers may misrepresent the risks of an investment in order to make a sale. Misrepresentation is prohibited under both California and federal laws, and a Los Angeles securities attorney can help you sue a financial adviser for damages if they made a misrepresentation in connection with securities. California Corporations Code § 25401 prohibits brokers from leaving out or falsifying material facts during the sale, purchase, or offering of a security. Material facts can include the financial health of a company, the fees associated with a stock purchase, or the risks associated with a specific security. Although both the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and California law prohibit misrepresentations or omissions of material facts in the course of a security sale, it is usually better to pursue a claim for misrepresentation under state law. Under California law, you need not show that you relied on the material fact that was omitted or misrepresented.

Negligence

Under California law, financial advisers are held to a high standard of care. They are supposed to perform due diligence on investments recommended to clients to make sure that they are not recommending a scam. In order to establish negligence, a Los Angeles securities lawyer will need to show that the defendant needed to follow a certain standard of care, the defendant breached this standard of care, causation, and damages. A broker may be held accountable if they breached a duty when handling a securities transaction for you, and that breach caused you to lose money. For example, under certain circumstances, a financial adviser who did not adequately diversify your portfolio may have been negligent.

Broker Firm Liability

Investors trust brokers to make decisions while bearing in mind their best interests. Brokerage firms owe a duty to supervise and manage their brokers and to make sure that their brokers are following FINRA rules, as well as state and federal laws. A brokerage firm's failure to follow this duty and adequately supervise its brokers can result in liability for negligence by the brokers. In defending itself against a negligence claim, the brokerage firm will need to be able to show that it had a system in place to make sure that there was enough supervision and compliance with rules and procedures. A brokerage firm can also be held indirectly liable for employee negligence under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Business Litigation

We represent businesses of all kinds in claims of breach of contract, partnership disputes, enforcement of non-competition agreements, and other concerns. Almost all businesses rely on contracts to define the roles and rights of the business owners, define relationships with clients, and buy goods or services. Another area that affects many of our clients is employment law. Employers have numerous obligations under federal and California laws. Workers can take steps against companies that infringe on their rights, including those related to wage and hour violations and anti-discrimination laws.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Investment firms often ask clients to sign arbitration or mediation agreements. These agreements require their clients to resolve disputes with the firm outside the judicial system. Arbitration can be considered an informal trial that takes place before a neutral person or panel of people who determine the outcome. Some arbitrations are binding. Mediation is an informal process whereby parties negotiate with the help of a neutral third-party mediator. While you can represent yourself in an alternative dispute resolution process, it is in your best interest as an investor to hire knowledgeable legal counsel to go up against a brokerage firm.

Consult a Securities Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area

Whether you are concerned about securities fraud or a breach of contract, the Law Office of Steve A. Buchwalter, P.C. may be able to help you. It is crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side. Often, brokerage firms spend a great deal on their legal defense, and it is advisable to hire an experienced securities attorney to go up against them. We usually represent investors on a contingency fee basis. Call us at 818-501-8987 or use our online form to set up a consultation.