Trusted Securities Litigation Representation

Michael J. Betts LLC represents clients in securities litigation matters and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration proceedings, i.e., securities/investment-related arbitrations administered by FINRA. Mr. Betts has extensive experience with such matters, representing investors, securities firms and professionals, and has handled a wide range of securities litigation matters and FINRA arbitrations – both “customer claims” and “industry claims.”

FINRA Customer Claims

In “customer claims,” securities firm customers claim that they suffered financial losses due to broker misconduct or the mishandling of their accounts. Customer claims can arise from many forms of alleged misconduct. Some examples of the more common types of customer claims are based on:

  • Fraudulent misrepresentations and nondisclosures
  • Portfolio mismanagement (e.g., lack of diversification)
  • Excessive trading (“churning”)
  • Claims based on annuities and other insurance products
  • Breach of fiduciary duties
  • Over-concentration
  • Unsuitability
  • Failure to supervise

Unless the parties otherwise agree, a single arbitrator handles claims of $100,000 or less. For claims over $100,000, three arbitrators sit on a panel unless the parties agree to only appoint a single arbitrator.

FINRA Industry Claims

In addition to handling FINRA customer claims, Mr. Betts devotes a portion of his practice to representing brokers in “industry arbitrations” involving employment disputes and other intra-industry disputes arising between FINRA member firms or between firms and brokers (“associated persons”). Mr. Betts also represents brokers in connection with FINRA and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations and enforcement proceedings.

FINRA industry arbitrations involve disputes between brokers and the firms with whom they are or were employed. These cases frequently relate to issues that arise as a result of the termination of the employment relationship, and many of the cases are brought by the firms, who seek repayment of amounts allegedly due under employee forgivable loans (“EFLs”) and promissory notes made by the broker at the inception of the employment relationship or thereafter. Mr. Betts also represents brokers with respect to noncompete and trade secret issues that arise when brokers move from one firm to another. Other common types of industry claims include raiding cases, defamation claims and claims involving statutory discrimination and whistleblowing.

FINRA/SEC Investigations And Enforcement Proceedings

Mr. Betts represents brokers in connections with FINRA enforcement proceedings, including investigations, examinations and disciplinary actions. This includes representing brokers in responding to FINRA requests for documents and on-the-record interviews (“OTRs”) during which brokers are required to appear and testify under oath. Some of the common subjects of FINRA enforcement proceedings include:

  • Forms U4/U5 – Late filing, failure to file and filing of false, misleading or inaccurate forms or amendments
  • Suitability / unsuitable recommendations
  • Churning or excessive trading
  • Unauthorized transactions
  • Failure to supervise
  • Communications with the public
  • Discretion
  • Misrepresentations or material omissions
  • Pricing
  • Outside business activities
  • Selling away / private securities transactions
  • Unregistered securities
  • Customer confirmations
  • Customer protection rule
  • Record-keeping violations
  • Regulation T and margin requirements
  • Conversion or improper use of funds or securities
  • Forgery or falsification of records
  • Registration violations

Secure A Strong Legal Advocate


For additional information about the services provided by Michael J. Betts LLC relating to securities litigation and FINRA proceedings, please contact Mr. Betts by telephone at 412-935-7073. You may also contact our Pittsburgh office online to schedule a consultation. We have over 35 years of experience to confidently guide you through your case.