Century Law Group, LLP Century Law Group, llp

Spotlighting FINRA investigatory processes

California’s financial professionals know a thing or two about regulation.

In fact, there is no question that money managers comprise a demographic that is as tightly policed by state and federal regulators as virtually any other licensed profession.

That just comes with the territory for individuals who forge careers as stockbrokers, financial advisers, certified public accountants and brokerage firm principals. Those individuals complete arduous training/educational requirements as a prerequisite to licensure and are thereafter kept under continued and exacting regulatory scrutiny.

The entity most closely tasked with oversight of most of the country’s financial professionals is the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. That agency is under the wing of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

One of FINRA’s central tasks is to evaluate complaints received that allege wrongdoing committed by licensees. Authority investigators follow up on those allegations in select instances via the convening of a formal hearing.

Such hearings frequently focus on accusations that a financial professional has somehow defrauded a client. Malfeasance charges range widely from fund mismanagement to an adviser’s breach of fiduciary duty.

A hearing panel’s finding against a financial professional can yield starkly adverse consequences, including these exactions:

  • Fines, including ordered restitution to victims
  • License suspension
  • License revocation and a permanent industry bar
  • Criminal sanctions

A FINRA hearing is a formal process where an accused has the right to present evidence. Given the potential licensing ramifications and additional downsides linked with a negative outcome, individuals being investigated often turn for help to specialized legal advisers.

A proven license-defense attorney team with a demonstrated history of strong client advocacy in FINRA matters can provide further information.

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