Rikard & Protopapas is a law firm handling investment and securities fraud cases in South Carolina and nationwide. We help South Carolinians and people nationwide who have been wronged by their broker or investment adviser. Some investors may place their own interests over those of their clients. Alternatively, they may not take the necessary care that they need when acting on behalf of customers.
Get in touch with us to begin holding those who wronged you accountable and recovering the finances you lost.
About State-Specific Securities Laws
In order to do business in a state, a registered representative must also be registered in that state. This requirement is in addition to the requirements for registration with the SEC and FINRA. State registration will mean that the registered representative must follow state-specific laws and regulations. It is not uncommon for a representative to be registered in more than one state. Some may be registered in all fifty, meaning that they need to comply with fifty sets of securities laws.
An applicant would check the box for South Carolina on the standardized Form BD that is used for registration. The application would then be sent to the South Carolina Attorney General.
South Carolina has its own securities laws. There are some gaps in federal securities laws that leave some investments uncovered by the legal protection that the law gives. State securities laws help fill some of those gaps.
State securities laws are often referred to as “Blue Sky Laws” because of an investment scam that they initially targeted. South Carolina uses its version of the Uniform Securities Act. A handful of states (such as New York) have their own securities law code. The USA is a model law that states adopt to whatever extent they wish. They would tailor the USA to practice in the state. Many states have adopted some form of the USA to be the basis of their securities laws.
The Attorney General’s Power to Regulate Registered Brokers
Securities laws in South Carolina are primarily focused on registration and enforcement. The state could take its own enforcement action against a broker when they have violated state securities laws. Theoretically, they could also deny registration when the broker has issues with their background.
The attorney general is responsible for administering securities laws and can investigate securities fraud. The Office may initiate their own investigations, or they may be responding to a complaint. Some customers may also file a complaint with the attorney general in addition to FINRA arbitration.
The attorney general will examine applications for registration in South Carolina and make decisions on who can become licensed in South Carolina. The attorney general can also revoke a representative’s right to do business in South Carolina. The attorney general’s office is also focused on investor education in the state.
However, South Carolina law does not provide you with another way to take legal action against your broker. When you signed a customer agreement, you agreed to arbitrate any claims against the broker-dealer. You do not have an independent right of action under South Carolina law that can get you around the arbitration clause. These laws are different in other states. Contact us today if you are not in South Carolina and see how we can help you.
How to Get Back the Money that You Lost
Anytime that you have lost money because of your broker’s wrongful action, you have the legal right to take action. Your claim against the broker may need to proceed through the FINRA arbitration process. FINRA has its own detailed set of rules that are aimed at providing a streamlined and efficient forum for investors to potentially receive a financial recovery. Since there is a mandatory arbitration clause in your agreement, this is the only way that you can seek any type of relief.
Grounds for FINRA Arbitration Claims
Here are some of the types of FINRA arbitration claims or securities law cases that we cover:
- Ponzi schemes (here, you may be able to take action against a third party who aided the fraudster or received profits from them outside the FINRA arbitration process).
- Non-public REIT fraud
- Recommending unsuitable investments
- Broker negligence
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Failure to disclose material facts about the investment
- Lack of portfolio diversification
Taking Legal Action Against Your Broker Through Arbitration
Many investors are afraid to take legal action against a brokerage, thinking that they do not have the power to do anything about what was done to them. On your own, you may have a tough time fighting back, but with an experienced FINRA arbitration attorney, you stand a much better chance of getting financial compensation.
More than two-thirds of FINRA arbitration cases will reach a settlement agreement, but there is much work to be done before you can reach that point.
- Investigate your case and review the evidence
- Help determine whether any FINRA rules have been violated
- Prepare the Statement of Claim that begins your arbitration case, setting forth your grounds for relief
- Play a role in the selection of arbitrators for your case
- File motions on your behalf and respond to the broker’s motions
- Develop your case through the discovery process
In many cases, the broker realizes that they have some liability. They may attempt to negotiate a settlement. However, the broker may be trying to resolve your case for a fraction of what it is worth.
Settlement negotiations can take time. You are in a stronger legal position when your lawyer has evidence that shows misconduct.
If your case does not settle, it will go to an arbitration hearing (if the parties did not ask the arbitrator to rule on the record). You will have the chance to present evidence for the arbitrators to consider before they issue their ruling.
Contact a Securities and Investment Fraud Lawyer in South Carolina
If you believe that you may have lost money due to broker misconduct, it is essential that you take legal action as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it may become to take legal action.
Your initial consultation is always free. In addition, we do not charge you hourly fees while your case is pending. We are only paid from the proceeds of your arbitration case if you receive money.