Herskovits PLLC provides legal counsel exclusively to individuals in the financial services industry. We have experience in a wide range of securities matters, both in court and in Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations. Although Herskovits PLLC is a small firm, our size allows us to avoid the conflicts of interest faced by large firms while providing unparalleled service at reasonable rates. Our office is located in New York City, but we can at times provide legal counsel to individuals in including Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami, and other areas in Florida, subject to admission pro hac vice. We are licensed to practice law in New York only and this webpage is for general informational purposes only.
Florida "Blue Sky" Laws
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an agency that regulates the securities industry at the federal level. It seeks to protect investors and prevent fraudulent activity by ensuring that individuals have access to complete and accurate financial information. Although the SEC regulates and enforces these laws at the federal level, each state has its own securities laws, known as "Blue Sky" laws. In Florida, this law is the Securities and Investor Protection Act ("the Act"), and it is located in Chapter 517 of the Florida Statutes.
In Florida, the Office of Financial Regulation administers and enforces the Securities and Investor Protection Act. Within this office, there are numerous subsectors. The Division of Securities regulates the sale of securities from, to, and within Florida. Moreover, the Bureau of Registration reviews registration applications, as well as securities offerings applications, and the Bureau of Enforcement ensures compliance with the Act.
Because of the high stakes involved in FINRA arbitration cases, it is prudent to have an experienced attorney handle these matters. For example, in a dispute between investment manager Merrill Lynch and two former employees, an arbitration panel in Boca Raton awarded the employees over $5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. [In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Meri Ramazio & Tamara Smolchek, Claimants, v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, & Smith, Inc., Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 10-04432, April 3, 2012)].
Claimants were awarded compensatory damages for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, unfair competition, defamation, negligence, and fraud, as well as several additional claims. After Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch in 2008, the claimants, both brokers, left Merrill Lynch. Upon departure, both employees were entitled to deferred compensation if they left for good reason. To determine whether each employee was entitled to this compensation, Merrill Lynch set up a committee. However, according to the arbitration panel, the committee engaged in a scheme to intentionally deprive claimants of deferred compensation benefits through several tactics, including fraudulent misrepresentations and withholding of information. Thus, because of the severity of these actions, the panel decided to award both compensatory and punitive damages in hopes of deterring future misconduct.
Herskovits PLLC Can Help You Navigate Federal and State Securities Laws
If you are a participant in the financial services industry and are involved in a securities dispute, you should ask an experienced attorney for assistance. Our principal attorney has handled over 200 FINRA arbitrations with an impressive track record of success. Thus, Herskovits PLLC has the necessary knowledge and experience to handle your case, and our size permits us to provide reasonable rates and unrivaled client service.
Although our office is in New York, we can provide legal assistance to clients nationwide. If you would like to obtain our assistance or find out more information about our services, please feel free to contact us by phone at 212.897.5410 or by submitting our contact form. We will promptly respond to your inquiry.