Investors rely on one thing above all else: fair financial markets, especially when planning for retirement. While it’s prudent to employ an experienced financial adviser’s services, it is not uncommon for advisers to take advantage of clients. If you live in Pennsylvania and feel that your adviser has neglected their fiduciary duty, it is crucial to understand all legal rights and avenues afforded to you.
What is financial crime?
Making trades without your permission, misrepresenting their services or promising results are all examples of how a financial adviser can violate their fiduciary duty to you. Larger-scale illegal activities like pyramid or Ponzi schemes also entitle you to legal action despite the fact that the infraction may not have been committed solely at your expense.
Financial crime can become quite intricate. Financial advisers sometimes engage in undisclosed, outside business activities such as taking on clients they do not disclose to their firm. An adviser’s public association with an established firm often instills false confidence in potential clientele. Regardless of why, advisers who engage in this type of subtle, illegal activity are subject to hefty fines and extensive suspensions.
How are financial advisers held accountable?
Thanks to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, investors can participate in financial markets with the confidence of the law being on their side. Though it is a private organization, Congress authorizes FINRA to hold all brokers, dealers and financial advisers to an honest and fair standard by analyzing billions of daily market events. FINRA’s Enforcement Division is highly proficient at discerning the nature of infractions and issuing settlements, even those based solely on customer complaints and not necessarily official, legal action.
Know your rights
Financial crime takes many forms and can sometimes be too intricate for even informed investors to notice. If you believe you have been taken advantage of by your financial adviser, it is important to seek legal counsel.