Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin
An Investment Loss Recovery Law Firm
Recovering Coronavirus Stock Losses
Did the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic trigger large losses in your investment portfolio?
Most investors experienced sudden and large losses in the value of their investment accounts in 2020. By late-March 2020, the S&P 500 experienced a 33% decline versus its February 2020 high. Do investors have strong cases to pursue against their financial advisors and brokerage firms? The simple answer is: It depends. Investors (1) whose accounts were suitably invested, and (2) who understood the risks of the securities they owned, likely do not.
So, what types of investors may have strong claims to pursue? Investors whose financial advisor constructed accounts that had:
- Excessive concentration in risky securities (such as retirees whose accounts were concentrated in: stocks instead of high-grade bonds; specific industries (airlines, banks, energy); REITs; high-risk ETFs; or “high yield” bonds or bond funds)
- Only small (or no) allocations to high-quality bonds (such as U.S. Treasury Bills, Treasury Notes, Treasury Bonds, AAA and AA rated corporate bonds)
- Margin accounts recommended by their financial advisor
- Securities-based lending accounts (or Portfolio Loan Accounts, “PLA accounts”) recommended by their financial advisor
- Aggressive trading strategies recommended by their financial advisor
- Retirement accounts for many investors age 55 or older that suffered large losses in value in a short period of time
Victims of Investment Fraud
The Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin is a law firm with a nationwide practice representing individuals (often seniors), trusts, IRAs, pension plans, business entities, and institutions in disputes with Wall Street firms, smaller brokerage firms, and other members of the financial services industry. Since 1996, the firm has represented investors in securities arbitration proceedings, as well as in state and federal courts to resolve disputes between investors and their brokerage firms and financial advisors.
Montgomery Griffin Has Unrivaled Past Experience as a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch and UBS’ Predecessor
Attorney Montgomery Griffin brings a unique set of qualifications to the representation of the firm’s clients. Monty’s past professional experience working as a financial advisor for two of Wall Street’s largest firms is unmatched by other attorneys who focus their practices on the representation of aggrieved investors. During his career as a financial advisor, Monty’s record was always 100% clean. Monty Griffin has also served as a member of FINRA’s Board of Arbitrators since 1996, judging and deciding many cases brought by customers and industry members alike. The firm views every new case as an opportunity to maintain its track record and reinforce its reputation with the brokerage firms and their often top-caliber legal counsel—a mindset and commitment that ultimately benefits our clients.
Why do you enjoy representing investors in FINRA arbs?
The firm’s approach of carefully screening and accepting cases only with strong merit (and frequently rejecting weaker cases) allows Monty to personally work and communicate closely with each client of the firm on a one-on-one basis to achieve the best result possible under the circumstances of the client’s case. Monty’s genuine passion for protecting the financial interests of the firm’s clients and his extensive securities industry experience and legal knowledge has resulted in many, many millions of dollars recovered for investors in hundreds of cases through lengthy hearings (trials), settlements, and mediations.
Most brokerage firm customers, especially elderly investors, repose great trust and confidence in their brokers or financial advisors. The mere fact that an investor chooses to pay a full-service brokerage firm (such as Morgan Stanley, UBS, Wells Fargo Advisors, J.P. Morgan Securities, or Merrill Lynch) to manage his or her money—instead of opting to pay minimal fees by using an online discount brokerage firm (such as E*Trade or TD Ameritrade)—indicates that he or she is seeking competent and honest investment guidance from a licensed professional. Under federal law (the Investment Advisers Act of 1940), and the laws of many states (including California and Florida), financial advisors owe their clients a fiduciary duty to put the client’s interests ahead of their own interests. But, unfortunately, in the securities industry, you do not always get what you pay for. In too many cases, brokers and financial advisors serve their own interests instead of the client’s interests.
Investors have a right to expect their broker or financial advisor will act ethically and honestly when advising them. Investors place great trust in their financial advisors. Unfortunately, brokers and financial advisors sometimes abuse this trust through misconduct. Financial advisor misconduct can take many complex forms and can be extremely difficult for most investors to detect.
Frequent Forms of Broker and Financial Advisor Misconduct:
- A failure to disclose all material risks of a recommended investment;
- Excessive trading (or churning) of the securities in an account for the purpose of generating excessive fees or commissions; and/or
- Failure to properly diversify a portfolio—often with highly-concentrated, unsuitable positions in a particular security.
Typically, this misconduct is also inadequately supervised by the financial advisor’s firm
Such violations often have disastrous effects on an investor’s long-term financial planning or retirement needs by resulting in either outright losses in a brokerage account or underperformance of the account (or select unsuitable securities within the account) relative to comparable market indices over the same period. Our firm has had great success before FINRA arbitrators recovering damages for our clients using either theory (i.e., actual out-of-pocket losses or lost opportunity costs, sometimes known as market-adjusted damages). Senior citizens victimized with these results cannot replenish their accounts with new money since they are typically retired and living on fixed incomes. The investor loss recovery Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin, and a worldwide group of forensic damages experts the firm uses to assist in prosecuting its cases, is highly experienced at helping investors determine whether their financial advisor engaged in misconduct while managing their investments.
When broker or financial advisor misconduct causes losses or underperformance, it becomes critical to retain counsel who has specialized expertise and an outstanding track record in fighting Wall Street and other financial advisory firms. Wall Street hires highly skilled lawyers to defend its immense capital, and its lawyers have large defense budgets to use in arbitration cases. To succeed against Wall Street, you, too, need a strong, experienced, and skilled advocate. In the United States, there are few, if any, securities attorneys outside of Montgomery G. Griffin who formerly worked for nearly a decade as a licensed financial advisor at two of Wall Street’s largest firms who now focus their law practice on representing aggrieved investors.
The firm takes great pride in carefully selecting the most meritorious cases offered to it and devoting substantial time to developing each case’s strengths once accepted. This methodology embraced by the firm has earned it a reputation with colleagues and defense lawyers around the country as investor-side lawyers who dig deep into the facts of each case and present them effectively to FINRA arbitration panels. The wealth recovery law firm of the Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin is proud of its outstanding track record in cases before FINRA arbitration panels since 1996.
Elderly Investors Often
Fall Prey to Dishonest Brokers
As the number of senior citizens continues to increase in the U.S. with our aging population, the concentration of wealth held by seniors is rising, as well. For as long as there have been stock and bond markets, deceitful brokers have permeated the financial services industry. Elderly persons are naturally easy targets for such “bad apple” brokers and financial advisors—who, first, seek to gain the trust of lonely or financially unsophisticated elders before, second, abusing that trust by engaging in a variety of forms of clever and deceitful misconduct that is difficult for an elder to detect. Not all investment losses or account underperformance problems are caused by market movement alone. Sometimes losses and underperformance are attributable to the misconduct of your broker or financial advisor, even though your broker or advisor may tell you that the problem rests solely with the market. The firm has a long history of successfully representing elderly investors against Wall Street firms and other financial institutions, including various cases where it has recovered in excess of $1 million for elders. If you are an elderly investor, the Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin can help you—and other investors—determine whether you have been victimized by your broker or financial advisor after we conduct a comprehensive analysis of your monthly statements and new account documents, and thoroughly interview you.
The firm has a proud history of successfully recovering monies from Wall Street for elderly investors, individuals, trusts and pension plans, IRA account holders, Hollywood celebrities, and highly educated professionals, including many doctors and lawyers. Monty Griffin can help new and prospective clients determine, first, whether the trust they reposed in a financial advisor was violated and, second, whether that misconduct resulted in damages that the firm can recover for you.
The Securities Industry Is Heavily
Regulated and Highly Specialized
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, state regulators, and internal auditors are tasked with heavily regulating the securities industry. FINRA sets forth on its website that, “FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of broker-dealers.” Brokers, financial advisors, and their supervisors are subject to a myriad of rules and regulations that are designed to protect the investing public. Inevitably, however, those rules are violated by brokers and financial advisors who misrepresent (or altogether fail to disclose) the risks of an investment, charge excessive fees, or fail to prudently diversify the funds in a client’s portfolio.
The securities fraud Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin can represent you to recover losses or underperformance damages sustained in your account as a result of the misconduct of your broker or financial advisor. While settling a case out of court is often in the client’s best interest, the Law Offices of Montgomery G. Griffin has earned a reputation as a law firm that is willing to take Wall Street and its financial advisors through rigorous and lengthy evidentiary arbitration hearings (trials) if a compelling settlement offer is not made to the firm’s client.