Case Evaluation

Five Basic Questions

 Here are five basic questions to ask yourself to determine if you may have a case:

1. Did the transaction(s) complained of occur within the past six years?

2. Do you have most of the account documents necessary to support the allegations?

3. Did you recommend the purchases and sales of the investment/s in your account, or did your stockbroker?

4. Do you have previous investment experience?

5. Did you invest with a legitimate brokerage firm?

Evaluating Claims

The first, and in many respects the most important, question for any investor is: Do I have a case? Not only does this keep you from wasting your time on a meritless claim, it also helps avoid having costs awarded against you for frivolous prosecution.

Although arbitration is based more on equity than law, there are basic legal necessities that every claim must satisfy before it is considered valid. To present a claim, you must have a "cause of action," and "damages." In other words, someone has to have done something wrong (or negligent), and the complainant must have lost money as a result. As a general rule, if you didn't lose money, you have no case.

Even before the above determination, you need someone to go after, you need to be able to establish the arbitration's jurisdiction over them, and you need to make sure the case is not too old. The simplest way to determine the latter is to ascertain if the firm and/or broker is a member of one of the national or international exchanges or international self regulatory organizations. Each of these bodies requires arbitration by its members upon the demand of a public customer. No written arbitration agreement is required. If they are a member of FINRA, they must arbitrate. If they are a FINRA member, it will be noted on your monthly statements and other documents that you received from your brokerage firm.

If the case is less than six years old, FINRA will allow it to file a claim, but the arbitrator may dismiss it based on the relevant statute of limitations. These vary from state to state, and for different causes of action. They may be as short as a year, or as long as ten years. As a general rule of thumb, any cause of action over four years old may well have problems unless "discovery" is a triggering event.

An exception may be carved out of this body of law in the case of "fraudulent concealment" If you can show that the Respondent deliberately withheld or concealed vital information from you, which prevented you from finding out what was going on, then you may be able to have the statute of limitations tolled for some length of time. Caution: This is not easy.

The most common causes of action involve unsuitable investments (too risky), churning (excessive trading), fraud (the broker didn't tell you something, or outright lied), negligence (the broker was simply careless), or failure to follow instructions (failure to tender, or forgetting to put on a stop loss, for example).

In summary, when you evaluate your case, ask yourself these questions:

Is there a viable someone to go after?

Can I force this person/firm to arbitrate?

Do I have a valid claim?

Do I have a valid loss?

Can I prove all of this to a neutral party?


These are some of the firms we are currently investigating:

  • AG Edwards
  • AIG
  • American Express / Ameriprise
  • Ameriprise Financial Services
  • Associated Securities
  • Banc of America Investment Services
  • Banc of America Securities
  • Berthel Fisher Financial Services
  • Brookstone Securities
  • Charles Schwab
  • Chase Investment Services
  • Citigroup Global Markets
  • Cooper Manus
  • Edward Jones
  • Edward Jones
  • Financial Telesis
  • Financial West Group
  • Foothill Securities
  • Janey Montgomery Scott
  • JB Hanauer
  • JP Morgan / Chase
  • JP Turner
  • LPL Financial
  • Lyon Capital Management
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Morgan Stanley
  • National Securities
  • Newbridge Securities
  • Pacific West Securities
  • Raymond James
  • Securities America
  • Signature Group
  • Smith Barney
  • Southwest Securities
  • Stifel Nicholaus
  • Summit Brokerage Services
  • Syndicated Capital
  • UBS Financial Services
  • Wachovia Securities
  • Washington Mutual Financial
  • Wedbush Morgan Securities
  • Wells Fargo Advisors
  • Wells Fargo Investments
  • Woodbury Financial Services
Yosemite Capital Management


Why Us?

    Impact Finance is a securities, arbitration, and mediation consulting firm providing complete support to securities attorneys as well as case analysis for individual investors who have lost money due to bad advice or investments.


  • Country:USA
  • City:Boston, Massachusetts
  • Phone:+1 (857) 239-0450
  • EMail:

  • [email protected]