Most investors know that purchasing and selling assets carries some risk. Both market upswings and downswings are possible, and there are always hazards, regardless of how knowledgeable you are as an investor.
Having said that, several international finance events in Vegas debated that financial losses occasionally cannot be attributed to random bad luck. Sometimes advisors, stockbrokers, and even brokerage houses commit fraud and scams, resulting in investment losses, as pointed out by the Money 2.0 Conference.
Too many investors lose a sizable percentage of their hard-earned money due to their stockbroker’s negligence or deception. Many stockbroker scam victims are unaware they have every right to seek complete and just compensation for their losses.
Following are some types of stockbroker scams discussed at the Money 2.0 Conference:
● Absolute Theft (Conversion of Funds)
Outright theft is one of the worst and most apparent stockbroker scams. In certain situations, stockbrokers will use their advantageous position to steal or purposefully misappropriate money from a victim’s trading account. There are numerous ways that theft can occur, and stockbrokers frequently employ complex strategies to mask their fraud.
● Unlicensed Trading
Before they may make a transaction on your behalf, stockbrokers require your consent. Typically, there are only two ways to obtain this authorization. First, you might have created a trading or investment account for yourself.
With this kind of account, you agree to allow your stockbroker to execute specific trades on your behalf without seeking your consent for each transaction. However, your broker must adhere to the trading rules you have chosen.
A non-discretionary brokerage account is an alternative. With this kind of trading account, it is against the law for your broker to execute any trade without first receiving your express consent.
● Abuse of Trading (Churning)
Stockbrokers frequently receive commission-based pay. With this charge structure, a broker can increase their fee income by conducting more trades overall. Frequent trading may make a stockbroker rich, but it is not a good approach for any investor.
One of the worst things a retail investor can do with their account is engage in excessive trading. If you trade too frequently, you risk making a profit on every deal but still losing a significant sum of money altogether. Stockbrokers are aware of this.
As a result, they are under a legal obligation to ensure that they only advise reasonable activities that complement a more effective trading strategy. You should file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your losses if your broker trades in your account solely to raise their fees.
● Keeping a personal conflict of interest a secret
Consider receiving a call from your stockbroker with news of hot stock. It is said to be a fantastic investment opportunity. You decide to invest a sizable sum of money in the stock because you have faith in your broker. How would you feel if you discovered overnight that your broker owned a substantial portion of the business you are investing in but chose not to disclose it to you?
You would be angry, and you would be justified in feeling that way. In this hypothetical case, your broker broke the law. Stockbrokers owe a fiduciary duty to their clients, and brokers have a legal obligation to tell their investors of any potential personal conflicts of interest to make an educated decision. A stockbroker scam is the failure to declare a material conflict of interest.
Steps To Take If You’ve Been A Victim Of A Stockbroker Scam
Although stockbroker misconduct cannot always be avoided, finance events in Las Vegas have listed some steps investors can take to reduce the likelihood of experiencing significant financial losses due to dishonest or unethical broker behavior.
● Fill out the new account forms.
Forms requesting information on the investor’s investing goals, risk tolerance, income, and net worth are among those needed when opening a brokerage account. Brokerage companies use these documents to assess the suitability of investments. These records will be crucial evidence for your case if you subsequently decide to file a claim for improper financial advice. According to Money 2.0 Conference’s experts, investors should carefully read these materials to ensure the data presented is valid and they do not run the risk of being scammed. Investors shouldn’t leave blank spaces for brokers to fill out these documents.
● Go over account statements and trade confirmations.
Trade confirmations and monthly account statements should be examined by investors as soon as they are received. Do not rely on broker-prepared account summaries. These statements and confirmations should be carefully reviewed to spot any unusual or excessive trade.
● Recognize the true intent behind a “happiness” letter.
Many brokerage firms will send clients a “happy letter” when their reports on account activity show dubious conduct. Without explicitly notifying the customer that the transactions on their account might include questionable broker behavior, the letter frequently directs the client to contact the branch manager with any questions.
As a warning sign that you might have been the victim of stockbroker misconduct, take this letter for what it is: a warning sign. Inform the branch manager of your investing goals and risk tolerance by contacting them. Inquire if any account activity has occurred that is not consistent with your investor profile. Ask for modifications to be made to address any issues the branch manager identifies. A lawyer who specializes in investment fraud should also look over the letter.
● Address Suspicious Behavior
The likelihood of launching a successful claim for investment fraud or stockbroker misconduct can lessen if you wait too long to alert a broker or branch manager about issues relating to your account. Address concerns with brokers and branch managers as soon as you know of shady behavior. Put your worries in writing.
As highlighted at several international finance conferences, several brokers and investment consultants are still engaging in unethical behavior. Therefore, perform extensive study before entrusting a financial expert with your money, and then keep a close eye on your accounts. For good reasons, investments could not perform as well as anticipated. But if you feel uneasy about your returns or have other worries that the advisor doesn’t address promptly and effectively, don’t be afraid to withdraw your money.