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Unethical and unprofessional financial advisers and stock brokers often operate under the radar, though they regularly milk clients’ brokerage accounts for extra fees and commissions, leaving respective clients with significantly less capital in their brokerage accounts.

Lawsuits in Ohio and around the United States are targeting such advisers and holding the industry accountable for illegal behavior.

Under the law, financial advisers are required to provide seniors and individual investors with independent, objective advice. On the other hand, these representatives and stock brokers are often acting as sales persons who can sell a variety of financial products.

This often creates a conflict of interest, and may tempt financial advisers to enter clients into investments that are unsuitable but profitable on a commission or fee basis.

Professional financial planners and advisors have a legal and ethical duty to senior clients an individual investors. As with any expert giving advice, financial advisers must perform their job with the skill and care expected of any competent professional.

If they fail in this regard, you may have a claim against an independent financial adviser or a bank representative handling your money and investments.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati, Ohio plaintiff negligence attorney with experience representing plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of civil litigation and financial advisor negligence claims.

Types of Financial Advisor Negligence

•    Failure to properly execute a specific-instruction order
•    Misleading clients, and not disclosing certain fees or associated risks of an investment
•    Advising clients with information based solely on self-serving commission or fees
•    Entering clients into unsuitable, risky investments
•    Failure to understand the risks of a client’s investment
•    Providing advice on areas where they have no expertise
•    Failure to explain the implications of a particular financial product
•    Choosing one investment over another solely based on management fees
•    Offering inaccurate, incomplete or misleading investment information

Conflicts of Interest for Financial Advisors

Professional financial advisers are meant to be experts, and able to advise clients with only the client’s best interests, without any personal conflict of interest. This distinction can be muddled however, because when advisers recommend certain products it is essentially a sales pitch, and they are likely to collect fees and commissions for each transaction.

That doesn’t mean every transaction is illegal, but if an adviser is only considering his or her best interest, they may be negligent and held liable for a loss of capital.

It is very important that your adviser discuss why they are entering you into a certain investment, and moreover, prior to any transaction, discuss in detail the associated costs of the transaction.

Most stock brokers, advisors and financial planners are professional and trustworthy, but seniors and individual investors must protect themselves against occasional financial fraud and financial advisor negligence.

Financial Advisor Negligence & Unsuitable Investments

Individual investors and seniors with their money independently managed rely on the implied careful and professional judgment of a financial adviser to protect their investments. It is the responsibility of both the client and adviser to communicate investment goals, and then the responsibility of the planner to match a client’s wishes with suitable investments.

For example, if a 70-year-old retiree tells his financial planner that he wants to preserve capital with low risk and low returns, the adviser must follow these instructions and not risk the client’s money in any unsuitable investment unless the client signs off on the recommendation. If a financial planner invests a client’s money in unsuitable investments and loses capital, they may face a claim of financial negligence.

Financial Advisers & Investment Risks

Financial advisers are responsible for not only thoroughly researching any investment vehicle they recommend, but for also taking steps to fairly communicate the nature of the investment to clients.

Financial advisers transacting investments on behalf of private customers are specifically required to ensure that customers understand the costs and risks of each investment they recommend or sell. If they fail to disclose pertinent information regarding risk or fees, and significant capital is lost, a client may have a negligence claim against the adviser.

Misleading Remuneration & Commission Fees

Before any investment transaction on behalf of a customer, financial advisors must disclose in writing the detail and associated fees for the particular transaction, and the amount of any other remuneration and commission paid to the financial advisor by the product or providing bank/financial firm.

This type of disclosure must cover any product-related charges deducted from the investment capital. Financial advisors who recommend individual or packaged products must disclose all built-in fees and the commission which they are to receive from the product provider. Failure to properly disclose all costs to the client prior to the transaction can result in a negligence claim.

What is Investment Fee Churning?

If a broker is entering a client’s account capital in and out of many investments in a short period of time, without prior consent, they may be engaging in a “churning” tactic meant to incur heavy fees or commissions for their own benefit.

The churning of a client’s investments is ordinarily contrary to a client’s interests if the adviser is the main beneficiary. If an adviser enters into transactions with unnecessary frequency without regard to the customers agreed investment strategy, this could be the basis of a negligence claim.

Is Your Financial Advisor Negligent?

It isn’t always clear when a financial planner has acted illegally or unethically, though the following questions may help determine if you have a reasonable claim against your adviser:

•    Has your advisor always conducted business with integrity?
•    Has your financial planner demonstrated expertise, care and due diligence?
•    Has your personal account been protected with an effective and adequate risk management system?
•    Does your adviser act with only the best interest of your investment capital in mind?
•    Does your adviser communicate important information in a clear, fair, and not misleading manner?

Financial Advisor Negligence Lawsuits

Thousands of Americans put their trust in financial advisors to professionally manage their money and their futures. When this trust is breached by unethical financial advisers, victims have the right to sue for negligence and recover investment capital that was lost due to fees, commissions, or risky decisions recommended by the adviser.

If you have questions about your financial planner, it is wise to collect all written contracts and transaction records for further investigation. Often, the contract between an adviser and a client is implied because the adviser has a professional duty to carry out his mandate with reasonable skill, care and diligence.

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Why are these cases important?

Business owners should protect themselves and should wait too long to discuss legal disputes with an attorney. It may be natural for some individuals to only confront litigation until a suit is filed. But it benefits business owners to build a case as soon as possible.

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Questions about Product Liability & Case Types

What types of business law do you commonly represent?

Our attorneys represent plaintiffs in a wide range of business law, including the following practice areas:

What is Intellectual Property litigation?

Below is a summary of the various types of intellectual property laws that are relevant to the permissions process.

  • Copyright. Federal copyright law protects original creative works such as paintings, writing, architecture, movies, software, photos, dance, and music. A work must meet certain minimum requirements to qualify for copyright protection. The length of protection also varies depending on when the work was created or first published.
  • Trademark. Brand names such as Nike and Apple, as well as logos, slogans, and other devices that identify and distinguish products and services, are protected under federal and state trademark laws. Unlike copyrighted works, trademarks receive different degrees of protection depending on numerous variables, including the consumer awareness of the trademark, the type of service and product it identifies, and the geographic area in which the trademark is used.
  • Right of Publicity. A  patchwork of state laws known as the right of publicity protects the image and name of a person. These laws protect against the unauthorized use of a person’s name or image for commercial purposes—for example, the use of your picture on a box of cereal. The extent of this protection varies from state to state.
  • Trade Secrets. State and federal trade secret laws protect sensitive business information. An example of a trade secret would be a confidential marketing plan for the introduction of a new software product or the secret recipe for a brand of salsa. The extent of trade secret protection depends on whether the information gives the business an advantage over competitors, is kept a secret, and is not known by competitors.
  • Right of Privacy. Although not part of intellectual property laws, state privacy laws preserve the right of all people to be left alone. Invasion of privacy occurs when someone publishes or publicly exploits information about another person’s private affairs. Invasion of privacy laws prevent you from intruding on, exposing private facts about, or falsely portraying someone. The extent of this protection may vary if the subject is a public figure—for example, a celebrity or politician.



What is Mercantile Law?

Mercantile law is more commonly known as trade law or commercial law—and it describes the body of law that applies to the rights, relations, and conduct of persons and businesses engaged in commerce, merchandising, trade, and sales.

Commercial law focuses on the sale and distribution of goods, whereas business law focuses on the other aspects of business, including mergers and acquisitions, shareholder rights, employment disputes and property issues. Business law is regulated by both Ohio law and federal law. The federal government primarily governs finance, workplace safety and employment issues, though state laws can differ slightly.

What is a Non-Compete Lawsuit?

Non-compete disputes involve contracts in which former employees agree not to compete with an employer for a specified period of time. Most non-compete lawsuits involve former employees soliciting business from the employer’s customers and not disclosing confidential information.

Properly drafted non-compete contracts are critical for enforceability and adequate protection. Even if litigation cannot be avoided, non-compete agreements in place will help make litigation and settlements easier for all parties.

What are Breach Lawsuits?

Two common types of breach lawsuits include: 

  • Breach of contract lawsuits: 

A contract, or any legally binding agreement, presupposes that both parties must fulfill the terms of the contract. If a contract breach occurs, the affected party can seek legal action and compensation for any actual past, current or future losses.

Commercial attorneys negotiate contracts and commercial agreements, and file lawsuits when the following contracts are broken:

    • Commercial B2B Contracts
    • Buy-Sell Agreements
    • Manufacturing Agreements
    • Partnership Agreements
    • Maintenance Agreements
    • Employment Agreements
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Breach of fiduciary duty generally involves allegations that an individual or company breaches a duty to others.  A fiduciary duty requires a level of loyalty and there are both legal and ethical implications. A breach of fiduciary duty commonly includes claims of fraud and breach of contracts.

Breach of Duty claims should be addressed as soon as possible with the help of business litigation attorneys experienced in commercial law.

What is Business Fraud?

Business fraud occurs through the omission, deception or misrepresentation of a contract, prospect, investment, project or other business entity. Business fraud litigation can result in monetary damages and irreparable damage to the reputation of a company or brand. Victims of fraud should consult an experienced business law professional. Fraud disputes involve various areas of law and may involve:

  • Fraudulent Inducement or Concealment
  • Misrepresentation, Omission, and Non-Disclosure
  • Intellectual Property Issues
  • Tortious Interference
Why should I hire The Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Business Litigation Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters. Business lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical Negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases.  The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world

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