Q: What agency would I complain to about the way my stockbroker is handling my account? I'm not sure if it's legal.
A: If you feel your investment account is being mismanaged you can report this to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or ("FINRA"). This self-regulatory organization or ("SRO") oversees brokerdealers and sets compliance rules by which they must act. FINRA is where customer complaints against broker dealers for any type of misconduct are filed and FINRA rules and procedures set the terms by which they are adjudicated. The manner in which your complaint will be handled will really depend on the facts but a FINRA examiner will certainly be able to better assist you. If the FINRA examiner determines that misconduct did in fact occur, the brokerdealer at which your stockbroker works will be informed and a FINRA regulatory inquiry may in fact be opened. Next the examiner will tell you that you may - again depending on the facts - consider filing a separate customer complaint to recover investment losses. This customer complaint would be separate and independent of the FINRA regulatory inquiry and could be handled by you the investor on a pro se basis. FINRA rules and the manner in which a FINRA arbitration is conducted are fairly technical, so it would be beneficial to consider at that point, retaining an attorney who specializes in brokerdealer and securities law and is well versed in the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure.
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