Clinic Comments on FINRA Proposal Concerning Communication to Investors Related to Account Transfers

Investor Advocacy Clinic graduate research assistant Alexandra Hughes recently filed a comment on SR-FINRA-2015-057, a proposal to adopt FINRA Rule 2273, Educational Communication Related to Recruitment Practices and Account Transfers.

The Clinic’s comment, available in full here, supported the proposed rule change to the extent it aims to protect investors who may be moving a financial account after their representative changes firms. The Clinic suggested several changes to increase the proposal’s efficacy.  First, we advised that the rule include disclosure of representative compensation plans or the provision of information concerning compensation on the investor’s request.  Second, we believe that the rule should apply to all customers who decide to transfer assets, whether they are current, new or former clients.  Third, we believe that moving brokers should provide information about the risks of transfers for a longer period of time and before the investor receives account transfer documentation.  Finally, the Clinic noted that the rule should require that firms ensure that the educational communication is delivered to the customer.

The Investor Advocacy Clinic represents the voice of small consumer investors.  In addition to providing legal representation of small investors who have claims against their brokers, the Investor Advocacy Clinic evaluates and comments on proposed rules that impact the small investor and engages in educational outreach for investors and professionals who work with investors.

Phishing for Protection

By Bryan Rafie, Spring 2016 Student Intern

The Internet is an ocean. Behind every computer’s screen lies hidden treasures, sunken ships, and giant reefs just waiting for the curious browser to experience. This electronic ocean is also host to a variety of predators, hardened by anonymity and isolation, all ready to ravage the unsuspecting victim. One of these predators is the phisherman. Every phisherman understands the key to survival is patience and selecting the right lure.

In our case the lure of a phisherman is a cleverly crafted title to a phishing email. A phishing email is an email from an individual impersonating a trusted business, government agency, or close friend to trick the recipient into passing on personal information. These emails have the general appearance of authenticity. They carry the company’s logo or letterhead. They use words or discuss subject matter related to the business or person they are impersonating. The Federal Trade Commission provides the following examples of phishing email messages: Continue reading

Wednesday’s Word: Equity Risk Premium

By Tosha Dunn, Spring 2016 Student Intern

When investors select a stock, part of the calculus involved is the determination of risk associated with the investment. The risk of the investment, among other things, suggests the return that the investor can expect. Usually, a riskier investment is expected to provide a higher potential return, but you may wonder what’s behind that generality. Continue reading

Meet the Investor Advocacy Clinic: Director Nicole Iannarone

Assistant Clinical Professor Nicole Iannarone joined the College of Law in 2013 to start the clinic and was named the clinic’s director in January 2016.  A graduate of the Yale Law School, she was a partner at Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP, where she practiced for nearly a decade representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation. Prior to joining the College of Law, Iannarone served as a visiting assistant professor at Mercer Law School, where she taught Civil Lawsuits and the Law of Lawyering and an instructor of law at Vanderbilt Law School where she taught legal writing.  Iannarone uses her past experience in running the clinic, representing clients and developing the clinic’s curriculum.  Continue reading

Meet the Clinic: Adjunct Professor Jason Doss

The Investor Advocacy Clinic is assisted by Adjunct Professor Jason Doss, an Atlanta lawyer who represents consumers in investment disputes and class actions. Doss is the owner of The Doss Firm, LLC, an Atlanta-based law firm devoted to representing consumers across the country in a variety of areas including securities arbitrations and consumer class action litigation. He has helped recover millions in damages on behalf of individual investors who lost their life savings due to faulty investment advice given to them by well-known brokerage firms.

Continue reading

Meet Student Intern Geoff Hafer

Geoff Hafer joins the Investor Advocacy Clinic for the spring 2016 semester.  A second year law student, Hafer expects to graduate in May 2017.  Hafer joined the clinic to gain practical experience with real clients in a setting where he can focus on one of his interests: business law and arbitration.

Hafer believes that the clinic is important because it “gives investors the opportunity for representation through a team of young advocates eager to learn.”

Kelly Robinson Returns to the Investor Advocacy Clinic

Kelly Robinson is returning to the Investor Advocacy clinic for a second semester during the spring 2016 term.  Robinson decided to return to the clinic as a result of her positive experiences last fall.  Her time in the clinic has led her to pursue a career in securities arbitration.  Robinson says that the clinic

“introduced me t the type of law I’d like to practice and allowed me to get my feet wet.  We educate investors and provide them an opportunity to recoup their losses when they might not otherwise be able to do so.”

Upon graduation, Robinson hopes to work for a small to medium-sized firm focusing on securities fraud.