Investment Fraud

FINRA Arbitration Suffers Reputational Setback in Suit That Highlights Unfair Expungement System

Lawyers who represent victims of investment fraud frequently criticize the FINRA arbitration process as being tilted in favor of stockbrokers. Biased arbitrators, cherry-picked by the industry and beholden to their interests, is a common complaint. A recent filing by the Alabama Securities Commission against a FINRA arbitrator for numerous violations has added credence to the claims of unfairness. According to…

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Third-Party Enforcement of Cryptocurrency Markets

Shortly after viewers watched the Netflix series Squid Game, where contestants participated in a deadly, rigged contest for millions of dollars, real-life investors lost millions by investing in a fraudulent crypto token of the same name—SQUID. Anonymous creators promised to create a crypto “play-to-earn” platform whereby people could virtually participate in the squid games. However, instead of building the game,…

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The Various Places Where Excessive Fees May Be Hidden in Your 401(k) Plan

So-called defined contribution plans—such as 401(k) plans—have become “the primary private savings vehicle for most Americans’ retirement.”[1] The assets held by 401(k) plans have more than doubled over the past decade, and as of 2019, these plans held a whopping $6.4 trillion in retirement savings.[2] With trillions at issue and the retirement security of millions of American workers at stake, it is…

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Should Your 401(k) Plan Invest in Private Equity?

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued a guidance document explaining that 401(k) plans are permitted to invest in private equity funds, albeit only indirectly.[1] The DOL touts its new guidance as a policy that “level[s] the playing field for ordinary investors” and helps “ensure that ordinary people investing for retirement have the opportunities they need for a secure retirement.”[2] However,…

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401(k) Participants Can Be Prime Targets of Cross-Selling Efforts

Participants in their company’s 401(k) plan have come to expect that their employer will protect their personal information from disclosure outside the plan. However, plan participants of Shell Oil’s 401(k) have filed a case in federal court in Galveston, Texas – Harmon v. Shell Oil Company – alleging Shell took no action to stop the plan’s recordkeeper, Fidelity, from using participants’ personal…

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Understanding 401(K) Documents: The Annual Fee Disclosure

401(k) documents are notoriously mystifying—and notoriously ignored. “I must say,” admitted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at recent oral argument of the United States Supreme Court, “I don’t read all the mailings that I get about my investments.” For about 72 million American workers, 401(k)s are “nest eggs.” Employees expect their 401(k) investments, along with social security, to provide them with a steady income during…

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Now is a Good Time to Judge Your Company’s Management of Its 401(k) Plan

No doubt you have seen the news recently about the stock market gyrations caused by the uncertainties arising from Covid-19.  Because many Americans’ retirement savings are invested directly and indirectly in the stock market, now may be the time to evaluate how your 401(k) is holding up through this market volatility. Foremost, a fund that has lost value in this…

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