Banks Receives 2016 Distinguished Service Award from PIABA

Last week at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association in San Diego, attorney Bob Banks was honored with PIABA’s Distinguished Service Award. The award is given “in recognition of outstanding, long-term and sustained service to promote the interests of the public investor in securities and commodities arbitration.” Banks has been a member of PIABA for 18 years. He serves on the Board of Directors, is a past president, and previously was honored with the Director Emeritus designation. In response to receiving the award, Banks said “PIABA is a wonderful organization that has helped countless investors and their lawyers over the years. I’m proud to be a member, and am deeply honored that PIABA has chosen me for this year’s Distinguished Service Award.”

Victory – Vindicated By The California Court of Appeals

“The victory benefits investors everywhere by making clear that basic rules of due process do apply in FINRA arbitration”

In August, 2014, I represented Sandra Liebhaber in a FINRA hearing requested by Royal Alliance Associates and its one time financial advisor, Kathleen Tarr. This was an expungement hearing in which Royal Alliance and Tarr asked FINRA to erase any trace of the claim that my client had filed and settled with Royal Alliance. To grant that extraordinary remedy, the FINRA three-person panel had to find essentially that Ms. Liebhaber had filed a false claim. Ms. Liebhaber did not and would not file a false claim, and when I found out about the request, Darlene Pasieczny and I agreed to represent her without charge at the hearing to oppose the expungement. At the hearing, the arbitrators allowed Ms. Tarr to testify that she was a minister’s daughter and had done nothing wrong. When I asked to cross examine Ms. Tarr, the FINRA panel refused to allow me to ask her any questions. I then asked permission to call Ms. Liebhaber as a witness, to testify about what Ms. Tarr really had done. The panel refused to allow her to testify, as well. And, along the way, they told me that they had heard enough from me, despite the fact that I retained my cool and acted with respect through the entire Gulag-like ordeal. When the decision came down, and not surprisingly, the panel granted the expungement.

Yesterday, we were vindicated by the California Court of Appeals. The court found that the panel had acted improperly. It vacated the FINRA panel’s decision granting expungement. Ms. Liebhaber’s claim will remain on Ms. Tarr’s Broker-Check report, as it should.

The victory benefits investors everywhere by making clear that basic rules of due process do apply in FINRA arbitration. It was the product of many hands. I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend and colleague in Beverly Hills, Lenny Steiner, who ably represented Ms. Liebhaber before the California Court of Appeals. I thank FINRA itself for recognizing that the panel had done wrong, and joined us in the request that the court toss the arbitration ruling. I also thank Susan Antilla, whose reporting on this case originally in The New York Times, and again yesterday in TheStreet.com, brought much-needed national attention to the case. And, last but clearly not least, I thank Sandra Liebhaber, who cared enough for future victims of investment abuse to fight the good fight.

A copy of the California Court of Appeals decision, which is scheduled for publication, can be found on the California Courts website.

 

Investor Defenders is a practice group of Samules Yoelin Kantor LLP focused on representing investors in situations where professional misconduct resulted in a financial loss. Lead securities attorney Bob Banks has earned a national reputation for his success fighting on behalf of investors in FINRA arbitration and in court for over 30 years. Consultations are complimentary and most cases are done on contingency fee, meaning that our clients do not pay any attorney fees unless we recover losses.

Banks Talks Aequitas in New Oregonian Article

Samuels Yoelin Kantor attorney Bob Banks was featured again in the Oregonian this Sunday. The article, by Jeff Manning, focuses on the the ongoing Aequitas debacle. Also highlighted in the piece is latest case that Banks filed in Seattle last week for a group of investors who lost $11 million.

In the article, Manning states “Bob Banks, a Portland securities lawyer, is representing 18 investors in Washington and California who were clients of Strategic Capital and Private Advisory Group, investment advisors based in Gig Harbor and Redmond, Wash., respectively. Strategic Capital got into trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014. The company and its co-founder, Gary Price, were sanctioned by the agency for engaging in prohibited transactions…. Bank’s 18 clients agreed to invest between them more than $11 million in Aequitas. They claim Aequitas’ ownership of Private Advisory Group was never disclosed to them.”

Banks is quoted, saying that “when our clients hired Private Advisory Group, they trusted that they were getting unbiased professional investment advice… In fact, PAG was secretly owned by Aequitas. Our clients had no idea that they were  actually being advised by Aequitas to invest in Aequitas.”

Be sure to read the full article.

For more information about the ongoing Aequitas case, check out the Investor Defender Aequitas Investor Information Center.

Aequitas Inside Look Article – Banks Quoted

Portland Securities Attorney Robert Banks was quoted today in an Oregonian article that offers one of the first inside looks at the Aequitas situation.

“It is absolutely outrageous that a financial adviser would put important client retirement money into promissory notes issued by a company that was already on the ropes,” Banks said.

Jeff Manning reports that Chris Bean, a 41-year-old investment adviser with Private Advisory Group had 330 clients invested in Aequitas, more than any other financial adviser in the country. Bean and his firm were part of a national network of investment advisers that helped to connect Aequitas to necessary capital.

Manning’s article exposes the fact that an Aequitas affiliate bought a controlling interest in Bean’s firm in July of 2014 and investors were encouraged to continue putting money into funds even after Aequitas showed signs of financial trouble. Obviously investors are concerned but Bean insists that Aequitas kept their financial troubles totally private. In the interview with Manning, Bean claims that Aequitas executives repeatedly portrayed a strong financial position.

Investor Defender attorneya Bob Banks and Darlene Pasieczny are representing clients who may have claims against Aequitas. The law generally provides that a licensed financial adviser cannot successfully solicit or sell an investment to a client by use of misrepresentations or omissions of material fact. If that law is violated, investors are entitled to a return of their investment proceeds upon tender of their investment back to the sellers. To see how that law might apply to the unique purchase circumstances of individual or institutional investors, you may call our office at 800.647.8130 or contact securities attorneys Bob Banks and Darlene Pasieczny by e-mail at info@investordefenders.com.

Investor Defenders is a practice group of Samules Yoelin Kantor LLP focused on representing investors in situations where professional misconduct resulted in a financial loss. Lead securities attorney Bob Banks has earned a national reputation for his success fighting on behalf of investors in FINRA arbitration and in court for 33 years. Consultations are complimentary and most cases are done on contingency fee, meaning that our clients do not pay any attorney fees unless we recover losses.

Banks’s Case Regarding FINRA Highlighted in Investment News

Bob Banks’s case is highlighted in a story in Investment News about the FINRA arbitration expungement process.

Deleted: FINRA Erases Many Broker Disciplinary Records

Investor Defender attorneys Robert S. Banks Jr. and Darlene Pasieczny have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to help you. Mr. Banks himself has over 30 years experience representing investors in recovering millions of dollars in investment losses, and he has served on FINRA’s own National Arbitration and Mediation Committee. If you have any questions about the story and FINRA arbitration, or have concerns about your financial advisor or investment portfolio, please contact us and visit our website at investordefenders.com.

Banks Quoted in Investment News Article Regarding Expungement Language

Investor Defender attorney Robert S. Banks, Jr. was recently quoted by Investment News, in an article about FINRA arbitration expungement procedures.

Expungement has been a controversial issue because brokers are routinely granted arbitration awards that allow them to expunge, or forever erase, customer arbitration complaints from their BrokerCheck records.  The FINRA board is scheduled to consider incorporating the current arbitrators’ expungement guidance into the FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure at an upcoming board meeting.  Mr. Banks commented that, while FINRA is correct in recognizing that expungement remains a problem, the changes under consideration will not solve the problem.

Robert S. Banks, Jr. has over 30 years experience representing investors in securities industry disputes and FINRA arbitration across the United States. His clients include institutional investors, pension funds, municipalities, fiduciaries, as well as individual investors. If you have concerns about your financial advisor or investment portfolio, please contact us and visit our website at investordefenders.com

Investor Defenders is a practice group of Samuels Yoelin Kantor LLP focused exclusively on investor advocacy.

FINRA Arbitration 101

Banks Speaks to DFCS About FINRA Arbitration

Securities attorney Robert S. Banks, Jr. traveled to Salem, Oregon today to discuss FINRA arbitration with a select group of regulators at the Department of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS). Banks’ presentation detailed the arbitration process from start to finish. The presentation covered filing, discovery, arbitrator selection, and awards. He wrapped up with a summary of both the pros and the cons of FINRA arbitration, as compared to court.

Banks is uniquely qualified to speak to groups about FINRA arbitration. As a securities attorney, he has spent over 30 years advocating for investors in arbitration, in court, and in Washington D.C. Last month he traveled to New York to review FINRA rules as part of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC). If you are interested in scheduling a presentation, or if you have any questions about FINRA arbitration, please contact the SYK Investor Defenders team at 800.647.8130 or visit our website at www.investordefenders.com for more information.

Banks Selected to FINRA’s National Arbitration Mediation Committee (NAMC)

Attorney Robert Banks was recently appointed by FINRA’s Board of Directors to serve on FINRA’s National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC).  Banks has served two previous 4 year terms on the NAMC, and has chaired its Rules and Procedures Subcommittee, its Discovery Task Force and Arbitrator Training Task Force.

The NAMC is an advisory committee that works to improve the FINRA arbitration process. The NAMC’s mission is to advise the FINRA Board on development and maintenance of an equitable and efficient system of dispute resolution that will equally serve the needs of the public investors, securities firms, and registered persons – not a small task!  The NAMC typically has between 15 and 20 members. Half are affiliated with the securities industry, and half bring an investor perspective to the process.

Investors are fortunate to again have Banks representing their interests on this highly selective and important committee. The next NAMC meeting is on July 15, 2015 at FINRA’s New York offices at One Liberty Plaza.