Yes, if you believe that your stock broker has been negligent in their duties to you, then you may be able to sue them for negligence. Generally speaking, stock brokers owe either an industry standard duty to only recommend suitable investments (for commission accounts) or a fiduciary duty (for % fee based accounts)to their clients and must act with reasonable care and prudence when handling investments. FINRA also has its own internal regulations with which brokers must comply. If there is evidence of rule violations, then this may also form the basis of a negligence claim showing failure to meet their standard of care.
FINRA provides a forum to pursue claims against stock brokers through FINRA arbitration. There are important time limits that apply and FINRA has rules that must be followed so it is important to speak to an attorney experienced in this area as soon as possible.
An attorney can help determine if you have a valid claim, help you prepare your case for FINRA arbitration and represent you in FINRA proceedings.
Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to recover both compensatory and punitive damages from the stock broker or his employer. Therefore, if you believe that you have been a victim of negligence it is important to speak with a qualified attorney right away. They can review the facts of your case and advise you as to how best to proceed with a claim.
Sean M. Sweeney is a shareholder at Halling and Cayo, a full service law firm in Milwaukee, WI and the head of its Securities Litigation team.
He represents individual and institutional investors in FINRA arbitration and court nationwide. He recovers investment losses from fraud or breach of duty from their broker-dealer.