November 5, 2009

It's a sue-happy world

Don't like the way your investments performed this year? Sue your advisor. It's not just the market meltdown; investors feel they were duped, and they're looking for someone (anyone) to blame. Can't sue the government. Can't sue politicians. Who naturally comes next? FINRA reports securities arbitration complaints against brokers increased 65 percent in the first eight months of this year, according to the Wall Street Journal, and the final tally is expected to be around 7,500.

And it seems regulators agree. From the Journal:

"Investors won some 45 percent of the cases decided this year through August, up from 37 percent in 2007, according to Finra. For claims under $1 million -- the bulk of the total -- winning investors are typically getting about half the amount they seek, says Richard Ryder, editor of the Securities Arbitration Commentator. "Suitability" claims, which revolve around the broker's responsibility to the customers to learn their objectives and recommend suitable investments, have predominated in this year's filings, Mr. Ryder says."

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