In this competitive world of securities litigation, ultimately the key question for any wronged investor or potential claimant is “Why hire Tracy Stoneman versus some other securities lawyer?” When I started doing securities litigation exclusively almost 30 years ago, I had very little competition. That is the reason I own two of the key securities litigation website domains www.brokeragefraud.com and www.investorfraud.com. Thirty years later, the Internet is filled with fancy websites by law firms claiming to specialize in securities litigation. I know most of my competitors and, for the vast majority, what I offer to my clients is a far superior opportunity to recover your losses, your costs, your attorney’s fees, interest and lost opportunity damages (what you would or should have made in the brokerage account if not for the wrongdoing). (Read more on "Why Hire Ms. Stoneman)Who Actually Does the Work on Your Case?
Many securities law firms have large staffs to deal with all the volume. Much of your case will be handled by younger, much less experienced lawyers and legal staff. I perform 100% of the work on your case. That’s exactly what you deserve - a lawyer who has 30 years of exclusive, hands-on securities litigation experience.Does the Lawyer or Law Firm Do Exclusively Securities Litigation?
I do exclusively securities litigation, nothing else. Many securities firms that appear to be doing only securities litigation also do all kinds of other personal injury litigation. Scrutinize their entire website to look for this deviation.What is the Chance the Lawyer Is Really Willing to try Your Case Versus Forcing You Into a Settlement?
It is a sad fact that far too many of my competitors take on cases that they never intend to take through arbitration/trial. They will take your case on contingency, have an associate do most of work, perform little work, and then settle your case for cents on the dollar. I will not take any case unless I’m willing to go all the way through the entire litigation process.Types of Cases Handled by Stoneman Law
Fraud doesn't just mean that your stockbroker deceived you or lied to you about an investment. In securities arbitration cases, the aspect of fraud that comes into play most often are the omissions - what the stockbroker failed to tell you or, in other words, the omissions. Stockbrokers are incentivized to not tell you the risks of an investment, because if you knew the risks, you wouldn't agree to the investment. FINRA Rule 2020 prevents stockbrokers from manipulating, deceiving or defrauding customers when recommending investments. Stoneman Law has helped individuals recover significant sums in fraud cases.Suitability
FINRA Rule 2111 requires that stockbrokers have a reasonable basis to believe that a recommended transaction or investment strategy involving a security is suitable for the customer. Here at Stoneman Law, almost every securities arbitration case I handle involves a suitability violation. I understand how hard it is for investors to know themselves whether an investment is suitable for them. Investors should be able to trust their stockbrokers. But stockbrokers have a built-in conflict of interest: the riskier investments and investment strategies pay the broker more. Stoneman Law is keenly aware of how to successfully purse suitability cases before FINRA.Unauthorized Trading
I am amazed how many investors are unaware that their stockbroker is required to speak to them before each and every trade, whether it be a buy or a sell. FINRA Rule 2010 (Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of Trade) prohibits brokers from making unauthorized transactions in their customer's accounts. It doesn't matter if you verbally give your broker permission to trade without talking to you. A small percentage of accounts are true discretionary accounts where you sign a document that makes it very clear that you are giving discretion to your broker to make all trading decisions. The vast majority of customer accounts, though, are non-discretionary. Unauthorized trading cases are one of Stoneman Law's specialties.Concentration
One of the hallmarks of proper investing is that of diversification, spreading your investments out over different investments, asset classes or market segments. Stoneman Law sees a significant number of cases where stockbrokers have improperly concentrated an investor's portfolio in stocks vs bonds or illiquid investments such as private placements, variable annuities or REITS. Illiquid investments pay the stockbroker much higher commissions than liquid investments. Stoneman Law has successfully represented hundreds of investors with concentration cases.Excessive Trading/Churning
Most stockbrokers are incentivized to trade your account more actively, because the more that they trade, the more commissions they make (regardless of how the account performs). There are several technical formulas in the industry that we use to determine if an account has been churned. These calculations are part of our standard damage analysis, so when we have your numbers run, the resulting report will tell us if your account has been churned. Churning an account is bad for the investor, because your ability to make a profit is hampered if you are paying a lot in commissions. Stoneman Law has handled many churning cases.Stockbroker Representation
Although most of Stoneman Law’s work is representing investors in claims against brokerage firms, Stoneman Law also represents stockbrokers in claims they have against their firms. In other words, Stoneman Law will take cases against brokerage firms, whether the claim is by an investor or by a stockbroker. Stockbroker claims usually involve wrongful termination or defamation claims arising from language the brokerage firms put on the Form U-5 that can impair a stockbroker’s ability to get another job within the brokerage industry. These cases have allowed me to get an inside look at brokerage firms that I would otherwise not have.Stoneman Law Will Evaluate Your Case for Free
In fact, since my work is primarily on a contingency basis, all my work is at no charge, whether I am evaluating a case or handling a case through arbitration. I have a very strong incentive to ensure the case is very strong on both liability and damages. Although some case evaluations take a very short amount of time, I can spend several months and many hours evaluating a case, if necessary, to ferret out the strengths and the weaknesses of a case.
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You've worked hard for your investment dollars and chose what appeared to be a dependable broker, investment advisor, brokerage firm, or perhaps, an online brokerage firm and you dove in with both feet, placing your trust and money hoping that they will serve your best interest! However, often times what looks good at first glance may result in disastrous consequences. It begins with a loss of trust, as your portfolio didn't produce what was promised or worse took a horrible nosedive. Then you find your trusted financial adviser has engaged in wrongdoing - negligence, fraud, unsuitability, unauthorized trading - or, heaven forbid, failed to follow your instructions.
Fortunately for all investors, the securities industry is well-regulated, and you have a remedy if these acts of wrongdoing occurred. You should not waste time deciding what action to take. If you have reason to believe that you have been the victim of fraud or misrepresentation, you have the opportunity to seek justice. But, you must choose an aggressive and experienced securities arbitration lawyer - it is vital to recovering your investment losses.
Ms. Stoneman of Stoneman Law is a highly experienced nationally recognized securities arbitration lawyer, recovering millions in restitution for her clients! Drawing upon her more than 30 years of result-driven and in-depth understanding of securities law, Ms. Stoneman dedicates 100% of her law practice to securities arbitration and litigation.
Ms. Stoneman has co-authored a book with husband, Douglas J. Schulz, renowned securities expert witness.
"The authors, battle stockbrokers for a living... they make enough of a case to get even very trusting investors to (wisely) think thrice about any broker's advice".
More on Brokeragefraud - Valuable secrets every investor should know to protect his or her assets.
"The imperative to be a skeptical investor is a lesson most of us learn the hard way. That's why you might do a favor for any friends who still use a stockbroker by giving them Brokerage Fraud: What Wall Street Doesn't Want You to Know." (Dearborn Press)
"The public has been bombarded with the benefits of investing. Yet, what brokerage firms and stockbrokers fail to tell individuals is how the securities industry bends and breaks the rules to the detriment of investors..." Google Book