A Guide To Filing A Complaint Against Your Financial Advisor

Imagine you have entrusted all your hard earned money to an advisor only to learn that they are playing fast-and-loose with your investments. This is like discovering that your babysitter let your children watch horror movies every night. What are your options? How to deal with a financial advisor who is rogue.

Collect your evidence. You will need to document every interaction, each transaction, and any advice that was given. Emails, statements, and contracts are all good examples. This is vital because you can’t simply walk into a regulator office and expect to be acted upon by waving your hands around.

Talk to your advisor. Sometimes, it’s a simple mistake or misunderstanding. Simple conversations can often clear up issues faster than “compound interest.” You should escalate if the person is avoiding your questions and giving you the “runaround.”

If talking does not work, you should file a complaint at their firm. Compliance departments are available at every advisory firm. Contact them and present your case concisely, but in detail. Stay calm and stick to facts.

No resolution yet? Now it’s time for the big guns – regulatory bodies like FINRA and the SEC. These organizations offer online forms to report misconduct or unethical conduct.

FINRA is in charge of issues pertaining to brokerage firms and brokers, while SEC handles investment advisors registered with the SEC. You don’t have to worry if you’re not sure which website applies. Both offer information on how each should be handled.

Let’s now talk about mediation and arbitration as alternatives to legal action before we go full-speed into legal action. Arbitration works like court but is less formal. It is also faster but still binding. Mediation involves an impartial third party who helps both sides come to an agreement, but without any binding decisions.

When things get really tense, you may also want to consider hiring an attorney with a specialization in securities laws. Legal advice may be expensive, but it is sometimes needed when the stakes get high.

Don’t forget state regulators either! Each state has an independent securities division to oversee advisors working within their borders. These can be an alternative way to file a complaint if the federal route is blocked.

Social media is also surprisingly effective for gaining attention fast. But tread carefully, as accusations made in public can backfire if not supported properly.

Keep in mind that patience is the key to this entire process. It won’t be resolved overnight unless, by some miracle, everyone involved becomes hyper-efficient. Keep calm and persistent. Anger will only make your judgement worse as you continue down this long road to justice or at least resolution.

Consider alternative dispute resolutions prior to launching into legal battles. Utilize both federal & State resources wisely and keep social media as your last resort weaponry.

Here you have it — a simple guide with practical advice and financial wisdom gained over many years of navigating murky waters full of financial misadventures!