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Financial Services & Securities

FMG's Financial Services & Securities National Practice Section is a multi-disciplinary team of professionals who represent financial institutions, as well as financial professionals, in a wide spectrum of transactional, regulatory, and securities matters in both litigated and non-litigated contexts. Our professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the financial services industry and their practice includes a number of sub-specialties including accountants and financial professionals, registered representatives and investment advisors, broker-dealers and Registered Investment Advisors (RIA). FMG's legal team represents financial institutions, their senior executives, brokers and other registered personnel in securities arbitration, litigation and regulatory matters. Our professionals also provide counseling in emerging areas of law such as data security and privacy issues, financial elder abuse, and guidelines issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The group's Partners have represented clients ranging from community banks to money-center financial institutions, including commercial banks and savings institutions, finance companies, credit card issuers, trust companies, investment advisors, broker-dealers, credit unions, mortgage originators, and insurance companies, in the areas shown below. Our team includes former in-house counsel, CPA's, SEC officials, and chief compliance officers who have decades of experience in all aspects of financial services CTA matters.

Financial Services Professionals

Accountants & Financial Professionals

FMG represents accountants and financial professionals in cases involving:
  • Professional negligence claims
  • Tax and IRS issues
  • Audit review and deficiencies
  • Accusations involving competency and conduct
  • Discipline as the result of regulatory action by the SEC or FINRA
  • Peer review reporting
  • Denials of licensure
  • Citation defense
  • Administrative hearings
Our Financial Services & Securities National Practice Section has represented, directly and through insurers, accountants and other financial professionals throughout the country including court, arbitration, regulatory actions, as well as actions before professional boards. FMG's team includes attorneys who are CPAs and consultants with experience as chief compliance officers at some of the nation's largest financial institutions. They have a thorough understanding of accounting principles and financial practices that most attorneys do not.

Our team couples their knowledge of the law with decades of practical industry experience to effectively navigate our accountant and financial services clients through their disputes. FMG attorneys closely follow changes in the law that directly or indirectly affect the duties and obligations of financial professionals to ensure that the firm's clients receive timely and accurate best practices advice.

It is not unusual for accountant and financial professional malpractice actions to include claims against other professionals in the same matter. Our attorneys also are experienced in working with other defense counsel, and often as lead counsel, to coordinate an effective group defense in complex actions. Our goal always is to achieve the best possible outcome in the most cost effective manner. FMG's team works closely with our clients and their insurance provider to specifically design the optimum defense and strategy for the best result in each matter.

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Arbitration & Trial Practice

FMG's lawyers also aggressively defend financial institutions and financial professionals in securities litigation, shareholder derivative lawsuits, and lender-liability actions brought in both commercial and consumer contexts, and in both individual and class actions. Our attorneys have defended residential mortgage lenders, loan servicers, and other creditors in lawsuits filed by consumers involving claims such as wrongful foreclosure, wrongful repossession, predatory lending practices, fraud, conversion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and alleged violations of federal and state laws such as the FDCPA, FCRA, RESPA, TILA, HAMP, ECOA, and UDAP.

Our lawyers also have represented some of the nation's largest financial institutions and residential mortgage lenders in wrongful foreclosure litigation, and have recently helped redefine applicable law to protect lenders' ability to non-judicially foreclose. Additionally, we have enforced the rights of commercial bankers and creditors in judicial and nonjudicial proceedings, including foreclosure of real and personal property, deficiency actions, foreclosure confirmation proceedings, bankruptcy cases, and all types of collection proceedings including litigating claims to judgment, garnishment, and discovering and attaching assets.

We also provide extensive guidance to boards of directors regarding their fiduciary duties, disclosure obligations, and special litigation committees. FMG represents fiduciaries across a full range of matters, including trust administration, asset investment and diversification, conflicts of interest, trustee removal, and breaches of various fiduciary duties. The depth of our experience includes representation of an ERISA Plan and its Trustee in the successful recovery of millions of dollars of pilfered funds, as well as the aggressive defense of officers and directors of financial institutions for alleged breaches of their fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, and/or the duties to protect trust assets through maintenance of appropriate insurance.

Our Partners also have extensive experience and expertise representing a variety of registered investment advisors, registered representatives, broker-dealers and other professionals in FINRA disputes and arbitrations, including customer complaints and non-compete/non-solicit lawsuits.

We also have defended matters concerning memorandums of understanding, supervisory agreements, cease and desist orders, trade secrets, civil money penalties, orders of suspension, prohibition and removal orders, restitution orders, injunctive relief and orders terminating FDIC deposit insurance coverage.

In addition, the attorneys at FMG have represented financial institutions in matters involving general liability, labor and employment issues, commercial litigation, contract disputes, and insurance disputes, including issues relating to coverage questions, D&O insurance, E&O insurance, and procurement of insurance by brokers and agents.

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Broker/Dealer & FINRA

FMG's Financial Services & Securities National Practice Section has tried and arbitrated cases throughout the country in disputes before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and state regulators throughout the country. Our clients include banks, independent, regional and national broker-dealers, wirehouses, discount and full-service firms, registered investment advisors, registered representatives and other registered personnel. FMG has also served as National counsel for several of the nation's largest broker-dealers. We routinely defend FINRA members and their registered representatives in customer disputes, involving stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, as well as auction rate securities, REITs, and options. We frequently represent senior executives of financial institutions when individual representation is needed. Our attorneys have also handled expungement proceedings on behalf of registered representatives, initially in arbitration and then upon confirmation in state or federal court. Our firm has also represented FINRA members and registered representatives in intra-industry disputes, including disputes related to selling agreements, employment practices, promissory notes and trade secrets.

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Benefit Plans & Fiduciary

Employers increasingly face lawsuits and regulatory challenges over benefits options they offer employees. Our attorneys have successfully handled the wide array of claims you may face including claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), cases of alleged errors or omissions, improper denial of plan benefits and suits for breach of fiduciary duty. We regularly represent plan fiduciaries and their underwriting insurers in cases brought by plan participants, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.

Our attorneys and securities consultants handle cases throughout the country claiming improper denial or change (especially reduction) of pension or welfare benefits, administrative error, improper advice or counsel, wrongful termination of a plan, failure to adequately fund a plan, prohibited transactions, failure to make required plan contributions, conflict of interest, imprudent investment of assets or lack of investment diversity, imprudent choice of insurance company or mutual fund, or third-party plan administrator or other service provider. We are highly expert in representing employers facing demands for payment of multi-employer pension plan contributions.

Our experienced attorneys ensure you will have industry knowledge and courtroom expertise to defend the inevitable challenge over your 401(k), profit-sharing plan or employee stock option plan (ESOP), defined benefit plan, or welfare plans such as health, accident or disability plans. FMG attorneys will evaluate your case promptly and give you the ability to resolve a case early or, if needed, to vindicate your position before a judge or jury.

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CFPB

Our professionals closely follow the procedures and guidelines being issued by the CFPB created under the Dodd-Frank Act, and advise clients on the agency's increasing regulatory activities.

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Data Security

FMG lawyers have extensive experience in developing policies, procedures and controls to minimize the risk of a security breach and ensure that processes are in place to minimize operational damage should a breach occur.

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Employment Practices

Our Financial Services team works closely with FMG's employment law practice team in all aspects of employment claims including contract disputes, gender discrimination cases, trade secrets confidential information cases, employee raiding claims, wrongful termination, and pay disputes.

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Regulatory/Enforcement

Our experience includes regulatory matters with federal agencies such as the FDIC, OCC, FRS, OTS and NCUA, as well as enforcement and/or administrative-related activities with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the NYSE and other commodity exchanges. FMG's lawyers also are experienced in state-related enforcement actions, and have represented clients before regulators in numerous states including California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.

FMG's team is experienced in handling regulatory and compliance matters before FINRA, the SEC and state regulators. We have a wealth of experience in defending informal regulatory inquiries, assisting our clients with responding to requests for information and documents (including 8210 requests before FINRA and Matters Under Inquiry, or MUIs, before the SEC), regulatory audits, On-The-Record (OTR) examinations, preparing "Wells" submissions, and negotiating Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC) agreements. When necessary, we are also fully equipped and experienced at defending enforcement actions before FINRA and the SEC.

As part of our practice, FMG partners routinely counsel financial institutions and their personnel on best practices in order to minimize customer disputes and regulatory inquiries and to avoid enforcement actions. We also provide counsel to our clients relating to internal policies and procedures as well as the form, content and implementation of supervisory and compliance manuals.

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Transactional

Our lawyers represent banks and creditors in commercial and real estate lending matters, including loan documentation in secured and unsecured transactions, loan workouts and restructuring, UCC Article 9 Secured Transactions, and construction lending.

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