In a previous post, we began to address some general ways in which a financial advisor can overcharge investment clients. But it’s worth a bit more focus on one specific type of investment: margin accounts. Some advisors contractually steer customers into margin accounts as the default investment. But margin accounts are inherently riskier investments, and investors with these accounts are more vulnerable to being overcharged by their advisors. Continue reading
As volatile as the market is these days, clients still should not lose sight of the value of their investment advisor. And understanding their value proposition goes beyond if an advisor gives them sound financial recommendations. It also means that advisors should be charging clients fair rates for their services. Continue reading
Compared to the decades of experience investors have with the S&P and NASDAQ, everyone’s a comparative rookie when it comes to cryptocurrency. And crypto’s appeal often comes from the idea that crypto exists outside of traditional banking. However, overlooked in that idea is the reality that—not unlike traditional banking and other investment platforms—many cryptocurrency services charge users expensive fees for these crypto transactions. And these fees can get very steep, very quickly. Continue reading
In January of this year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a “Risk Alert” warning potential investors about four areas of concern—ways in which investment advisers are defrauding their clients. Let’s briefly discuss each of these in turn, to see what concerning practices you should be on the lookout for. Continue reading
In the past few years, industry-watchers have seen a rise in lawsuits filed against pension funds: Clients have been suing pension fund providers for charging excessive fees—even higher fees than they charge other clients for similar investment products—and other wrongdoing. And now, following a unanimous decision issued by the Supreme Court in January 2022, even more clients may begin bringing lawsuits against providers—since the Court’s ruling clarifies pension fund providers’ duties to their customers holding that pension funds owe significant responsibilities to its investors. Continue reading
Before sitting down for her now-famous 60 Minutes interview, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen had filed eight complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In these, she alleged that Facebook was misleading investors in how the company doesn’t act against hate crime, how it facilitates the spread of disinformation, how it harms young girls’ psychological wellbeing, and much more. Continue reading
Of those who provide tips to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblowing program, an estimated 20% are anonymous when they submit their information. And the SEC is required to keep whistleblowers’ information confidential. But what if you submitted the information anonymously, and your identity became known? Continue reading
Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of becoming a whistleblower is feeling alone when you go against your company. But what if you and another colleague both decide to go to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and become joint whistleblowers? How does that change the equation?
You and a colleague can become joint whistleblowers, and you can both receive an award. (For instance, in April 2021, the SEC announced that joint whistleblowers would share a $50 million award.) Continue reading
One question many whistleblowers worry about: What if their whistleblowing uncovers their own participation in the wrongdoing? And if it does so, how might that impact their liability and eligibility for an award?
Some culpability is not an automatic bar from a securities whistleblower award. Continue reading
If you are considering filing a whistleblowing report with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), you might wonder if the SEC program covers violations that take place abroad. The short answer is: Probably, but it depends.
As a starting point, it’s worth noting that there is no requirement for whistleblowers to be US residents or citizens. On the contrary, since the beginning of the SEC’s program, eligible whistleblowers from 130 countries—including the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Australia, and India—have come forward with tips for the SEC to review. Continue reading