Additional Steps

If you think you have been cheated, treated unfairly, or the subject of abusive sales practices by securities professionals, there are several actions you may want to consider taking:

Contact Your Broker.  You should contact your broker, orally and in writing, and forward copies of your complaint to the manager and compliance officer of the firm. Ask for a written reply that explains the handling of your problem. 

Contact FINRA.  Virtually all brokerage firms registered in the U.S. to do business with the public are members of FINRA and are regulated by it. It has regulatory responsibilities in the following areas:

  • Formulation of rules governing business and sales practices of its members and their sales representatives.
  • Review for fair dealing with customers.
  • Investigation of violations of securities laws and self-regulatory rules by member firms and sales representatives.
  • Testing, registration, and licensing of security-industry professionals.
  • Review of advertising and sales literature used by members.
  • Examination of firms' office practices and financial records.
  • The imposition of disciplinary sanctions.

Consult An Attorney.  Consider consulting a lawyer for help resolving a securities dispute. 

Consider Arbitration and/or Mediation

Arbitration is a process of dispute resolution in which a neutral third person -- the arbitrator -- makes a decision after a hearing at which both parties have an opportunity to present their case.  While there is no requirement that an investor sign an agreement to arbitrate any disputes, most securities professionals require such an agreement.  FINRA offers the largest arbitration forum in the securities industry, but several other arbitration forums are available to investors. 

Mediation is an informal alternative to arbitration, in which the mediator has no power to impose a decision on the parties.  For more information about arbitration and mediation, please click here.

Keep Records.  It’s wise to keep copies of complaint letters you send and the responses you receive. These documents can be of great benefit to you later. Keep these in your investment file with monthly account statements, copies of offering materials, and trade confirmations.