FINRA Investigations and Litigation Attorney Representing Financial Professionals
FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) is the self-regulatory organization responsible for enforcing FINRA rules and securities laws. FINRA also examines broker-dealers, registers broker-dealers and their registered representatives, and operates an arbitration dispute resolution system. FINRA operates under the oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
FINRA disciplinary investigations are serious matters than can end the career of a financial professional. If you are involved in a FINRA investigation, contact an experienced FINRA investigations and litigation attorney at once.
FINRA’s Enforcement Division investigates possible violations of FINRA Rules and federal securities laws. Those investigations are triggered primarily by:
- customer complaints
- FINRA’s periodic examinations of broker-dealers
- FINRA’s monitoring of trading on the securities exchanges
- disclosures made on U4 (registration) and U5 (termination of registration) forms
- referrals from state and federal agencies
What Does It Mean if You Receive a FINRA 8210 Letter of Inquiry?
Under FINRA Rule 8210, FINRA is authorized to compel testimony or the production of documents from individuals and firms in the securities industry by issuing a letter of inquiry. FINRA may send someone an “8210 Letter” – a letter of inquiry – for reasons that include:
- a customer complaint
- an arbitration filing
- examination findings
- items in U4 and U5 disclosures
- unusual trading activity
An 8210 letter may demand documents and information related to a registered firm’s activities, an outside business, or a private securities transaction. If you receive an 8210 letter of inquiry, immediately seek the advice and services of an experienced FINRA investigations attorney.
When Should You Speak to a FINRA Investigations Attorney?
Failure to cooperate with a FINRA investigation may put you at risk of being kicked out of the securities industry. FINRA’s powers are broad. FINRA can require you to provide documents, answer questions in writing, or appear to answer questions in person with an on-the-record (OTR) interview.
If you receive an 8210 letter, it means that an investigation by FINRA is already underway. You will need to act swiftly. You should immediately seek a good attorney’s advice and representation – even if you have not done anything wrong.
Why Should You Choose Bragança Law LLC?
When you seek an attorney to represent you in a FINRA investigation, you must consider that attorney’s background and experience. Attorney Lisa Bragança is a former Branch Chief in the Division of Enforcement of the Chicago Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Attorney Lisa Bragança is also the former Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Securities Law Committee. She is a member of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association. She has worked with financial professionals and firms across the United States to protect their careers and reputations.
Before you respond to an 8210 letter, having the right attorney’s advice is imperative. If you receive a letter of inquiry from FINRA, do not make any statements and do not produce any documents before you have consulted with an experienced FINRA investigations lawyer.
How Should You Respond to an 8210 Letter?
The right response – crafted with the right attorney’s help – can sometimes quickly resolve a FINRA investigation. But if you say too much or provide documents that were not even requested by FINRA, you might unwittingly expand the scope of an investigation and make yourself a target.
In fact, any testimony or documents that you provide to FINRA investigators without a lawyer’s advice could be used against you by state and federal regulators.
And don’t even think about ignoring an 8210 letter. Refusing to cooperate with or to provide testimony in a FINRA investigation – even if you invoke your Fifth Amendment rights – constitutes a failure to cooperate that can get you kicked out of the securities industry.
What Penalties Can FINRA Impose?
If you fail to respond to an 8210 letter or to cooperate fully with FINRA investigators, FINRA has the authority to impose steep fines and kick you out of the industry by suspending or revoking your registration. You could even be barred permanently from the securities industry.
When a FINRA investigation determines that an individual or a firm has violated FINRA rules, FINRA can impose substantial fines and penalties including a permanent revocation of registration. That could be the end of your career.
Why is an Attorney’s Immediate Help So Important?
It is imperative to have an experienced securities attorney representing you as soon as you learn that you are involved in any way with a FINRA investigation. With the right lawyer advocating on your behalf, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with FINRA before any charges are filed. Matters may sometimes be resolved with an informal disciplinary or “cautionary” action. Cautionary actions do not constitute formal discipline and are not reported to the public.
If you wait until FINRA notifies you that charges are being brought against you, you may have waited too long.
You Need Your Own Attorney – Not Your Employer’s
If you are investigated by FINRA, you should not rely upon your firm’s attorneys to represent you. Any mistake in the investigation can destroy your career.
You need an attorney who represents and looks out for you – not for your employer. Your employer and/or FINRA may tell you that you are not the focus of the investigation of the firm, so you don’t need your own attorney. That is not true. When your firm’s attorneys prepare you for an interview or accompany you for on-the-record testimony, they represent the firm – not you. Be wary of your firm making you a scapegoat and throwing you under the bus. If your firm’s attorneys will not put IN WRITING that they are representing you as an individual in the investigation, get your own attorney.
Throughout her career, attorney Lisa Bragança has protected the careers and reputations of individuals in many regulatory investigations and actions.
Attorney Lisa Bragança handles FINRA investigations, state regulatory investigations, and SEC investigations all over the country.
Schedule a Consultation Today With Attorney Lisa Bragança
If you are involved in a FINRA investigation or if you want to learn more about FINRA investigations, arrange now to discuss your circumstances with experienced regulatory investigations attorney Lisa Bragança at Bragança Law LLC.
Call Bragança Law LLC at (847) 906-3460, or use the contact form here on our website. When you become a client at Bragança Law LLC, attorney Lisa Bragança will explain how the law applies to your case, and what she can do to get you the best possible resolution.