Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Conflict Management for Terminated Financial Advisors

There is plenty of room for conflict when a financial advisor is leaving his or her broker-dealer. Although the departure may start off in an amicable fashion, tensions often flare once promissory notes and client retention issues arise. Moreover, an involuntary or “for-cause” termination may implicate defamation and regulatory issues. In other words, your broker-dealer may defame you on your U-5/U-4[1] providing you with an arbitration claim but also subjecting you to months of regulatory scrutiny from FINRA and state regulators. So here is my lecture: it is wise to retain independent counsel as soon as you are even contemplating leaving your current broker-dealer. Your legal counsel can help you achieve a smooth transition or at least advocate for you during the termination process. Our firm has represented countless departing brokers on a nearly endless array of issues. We have also recouped millions of dollars in defamations awards and settlements. Food for thought.

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[1] In 2020, U5 defamation cases were the fourth most common intra-industry claim filed with FINRA, behind breach of contract, promissory notes, and compensation claims. (https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/form-u5-defamation-claims-rise-finra-be-prepared)

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