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Affordable Legal Representation to Remove Information from a Form U5 and BrokerCheck
Do you need information expunged from your Form U5 or BrokerCheck?
FINRA Expungement Summary
Expungement of information made on a FINRA broker’s official record is critical because it is viewed by potential customers, employers, family members and regulators. Information about a broker is maintained in the Central Registration Depository (“CRD”). FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, which obtains its information from the CRD, makes it extremely easy for anyone to access a broker's information. Failure to timely correct inaccurate information can result in substantial financial damages.
Our Law Firm Can Assist a Broker in Removing Information from BrokerCheck and a Form U5
Our law firm understands the importance of a broker's information that is displayed on BrokerCheck and a Form U5. We have successfully obtained expungement of information from BrokerCheck, Form U5s and the CRD. Information that we successfully removed includes:
Our law firm understands the value in having an accurate BrokerCheck report and Form U5. We generally charge a fixed fee for our representation. This provides our FINRA broker clients the peace of mind that the process will not cost an extraordinary amount. We also offer flexible payment plans for those brokers that cannot afford to pay our entire fee at once. Unlike most law firms, we do not charge large initial fees.
In some cases, a broker's U5 contains an incorrect reason for termination, which could form the basis of a separate legal claim. In such cases, we represent many brokers on a contingent fee basis (no legal fee is paid unless we recover money).
We Can Help
FINRA brokers only have a limited time to correct inaccurate information. Our law firm's attorneys have the experience and proven record to assist brokers in removing information from their BrokerCheck report, Form U5 and CRD. All initial consultations are complimentary and in some cases we do not charge a legal fee unless we recover money. To find out if we can help, simply call 1-800-976-6462 or complete the inquiry form located on this page.
The Uniform Termination Notice for Securities Industry Registration, (also referred to as “Form U5”) requires a broker-dealer to truthfully represent various facts when a broker ceases employment with the broker-dealer. When a broker is terminated for any reason, FINRA rules require the broker-dealer to provide a “reason for termination” on the broker’s Form U5. If the separation was contentious, or if the broker was “permitted to resign,” the broker-dealer must set forth a reason. The broker-dealer could set forth a innocuous reason, such as “mutual agreement” or it can represent a more detailed reason for which it deems accurate, even if untrue.
Removing Inaccurate Information
A broker-dealer has thirty (30) days from a brokers last day of employment to file a Form U5. A broker may not know what is set forth on the Form U5 until it is filed. Inaccuracies set forth on a broker’s Form U5 can cause substantial financial damages to a broker. Removing inaccurate, unfair or defamatory language generally requires filing a FINRA arbitration, requesting expungement.
A FINRA arbitration filed by a broker requesting expungement can also include other potential claims, including failure to receive compensation (bonus, commission, personal days) and employment discrimination. Some states provide damages for defamatory language set forth in a Form U5.
In New York and California, a broker can obtain expungement of some information set forth on a Form U5 if the broker proves defamation. FINRA arbitration panels have discretion to award damages and, contrary to formal legal proceeding, arbitration panels are not always required to issue detailed written decisions, rendering appeals rare, but possible.
The Form U5 is used by FINRA to determine whether a broker potentially violated any FINRA regulations or laws. As such, one important purpose of the form is to alert FINRA of potential misconduct and enable it to investigate, sanction and deter misconduct by brokers.
There are many instances when a broker-dealer issues a Form U5 that contains inaccurate or misleading information. In such situations, our firm represents the broker during the expungement process. Our firm appreciates that inaccurate information can cause substantial financial damages because future employers and clients will have access to the incorrect information.
In a recent case, our firm represented a broker accused of being involved in a theft of money. Our firm filed an arbitration claim on behalf of the broker, requesting expungement and alleging various other employment related causes of action. All causes of action were resolved prior to hearing pursuant to a confidential settlement agreement, except for the broker’s expungement request. After two (2) days of in-person hearings, the Arbitration panel issued an award in favor of our firm’s client.
All references to the brokers involvement in the theft were removed from the CRD and no longer appeared on the broker's Form U5 or on BrokerCheck.
FINRA’s Expungement Procedure
FINRA Rules pertaining to expungement vary depending upon the information being requested to be removed. Different procedural rules apply to customer related complaints, compared to disputes between brokers and broker-dealers.
Expungement of Customer Complaint Information
FINRA Regulatory Notice 08-79 set forth the expungement procedure rule:
1. Hearing – The entire arbitration panel must conduct a recorded hearing by telephone or in person regarding the expungement request.
2. Settlements – If parties entered into a settlement agreement, the arbitrators must review the settlement documents and consider the amount paid to any party. The arbitrators must consider any terms and conditions of the settlement that regarding the broker’s involvement in the alleged misconduct before deciding whether to award expungement.
3. Limited Grounds for Ruling – The panel must set forth the grounds for expungement for which the expungement order was based. It must then provide a brief written explanation of the reasons for ordering record expungement.
Basis for Expungement
i. The claim, allegation or information is factually impossible or clearly erroneous;
ii. The registered person was not involved in the alleged investment-related sales practice violation, forgery, theft, misappropriation or conversion of funds; or,
iii. The claim, allegation or information is false.
4. Mandatory Fees – The arbitrators must assess fees against the parties requesting expungement relief in which the sole issue to be determined by the arbitrators is the determination of the appropriateness of expungement.
Once an expungement order has been issued by the arbitrators (within their Award), the broker must have the Award confirmed in court as a judgment, giving FINRA an opportunity to intervene. Once the Award has been confirmed as a judgment, the broker must then serve a copy to the CRD so that the existence of the arbitration can be expunged from the broker’s official record.
Time Limits to Request Expungement of FINRA Customer Disputes
A broker can seek expungement of old customer complaints on a CRD report. For each claim, a new arbitration filing would be required, as well as a new Uniform Submission Agreement.
FINRA Rule 12206 provides that “[n]o claim shall be eligible for submission to arbitration under the Code where six years have elapsed from the occurrence or event giving rise to the claim. The panel will resolve any questions regarding the eligibility of a claim under this rule.” As such, a broker must file a Statement of Claim (complaint) within six (6) years of the customer’s complaint.
All communication with our firm is confidential. We never charge a legal fee for initial consultations. If you believe you may be able to delete negative information from your Form U5 or BrokerCheck report, contact us today.
Update - New Option for Brokers Seeking Expungement of Customer Complaint on Form U4 and Form U5
Until recently brokers did not have the option of naming their brokerage firm in a FINRA expungement arbitration. A separate expungement action can now be filed by the broker, naming either the customer or broker-dealer involved in the arbitration. This can be advantageous to brokers because customers are generally reluctant to be involved in expungement hearings and without a customer-signed submission agreement the expungement hearing cannot commence. Additionally, even assuming the complaining customer executed a submission agreement, the customer's testimony is not likely to support the broker's case for expungement.
FINRA now allows brokers seeking expungement to file an arbitration claim against a broker-dealer for the purpose of seeking expungement. This alleviates the previous requirement of having to name the customer as a respondent. The criteria for granting an expungement remains the same in these new proceedings. FINRA suggests that the broker provide a copy of the expungement Statement of Claim to the customer in the underlying arbitration, though no formal notice requirement exists. Although each broker's expungement case is unique, this option is generally the best course of action.
Imbesi Law P.C.'s FINRA Expungement Clients:
5.0 star rating 10/9/2014
I lost my job at a large broker dealer as a Financial Advisor after earning a promotion, and I can only speculate publicly as to the reason. However, I called and spoke with Vincent briefly (or not so briefly, I was fairly upset), and Brittany Weiner became my lawyer. I was between a rock and a hard place because my spouse is a wounded veteran, and my stepson also lives with us full-time, with all the pressure being on me to provide. Unfortunately, it's difficult to even sell insurance with a mark on your U5, false or not, so I was thankful for the assistance with my issue. A FINRA panel expunged my record, corrected the false "Yes", and rephrased the remaining sentence to more accurately reflect what happened. Granted, I'm still waiting on a court order from the NY Supreme court to change the publicly visible record, but at least now I have something to show potential employers that works in my favor. Ms. Weiner was very patient with me as well, given that I lived in Dubai and Shanghai during the year-long process, and was often on a different time zone, had difficulty accessing my email accounts due to government bans on communication methods, and was often buried in consulting work as I completed my MBA. My hearing was held on the telephone, and I was not forced to travel back and forth during my work as well, which saved my life. Given that the way I found the firm was to google law firms that have won against said large broker dealer, I really threw up a prayer and won this time, and I am very thankful for Ms. Weiner and Mr. Imbesi for taking up my case
New York, NY
5.0 star rating 1/5/2015
I recommend Brittany Weiner.
This letter is to thank your for your representation that was above and beyond what I expected to receive. Ms. Britanny Sloane Weiner was clever, extremely professional, comforting, and always kept me informed during the process. It was apparent to me that she cared about the outcome almost as much as I did. Your style of representation was impeccable, classy, and she cleverly executed every facet of the case.
I was proud to have you as my lawyer. I felt comforted by your portrayal of experience and knowledge. Throughout the trial, I feld protective and secure by your support.
Ms. Britanny Weiner always well prepared, thorough, convincing, and always accurate. I could see that the jurors had respect for her and what she had to say.
Ms. Britanny Weiner did everything she promised and more. She comforted me when I was worried, and fought hard for me. She was my friend. I have already recommended a co-workers, friends and family.
Ms. Weiner is truly and asset to her firm, as her is a terrific person and attorney. Thanks for excellent representation.
Recent FINRA Expungement Awards
"Sorry you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this case" - FINRA to J.P. Morgan's Attorney
FINRA denies J.P. Morgan's post-hearing submission served after its former broker was awarded expungement; Submission demanded arbitration panel change its expungement award and reallocate some of the FINRA fees to the former broker.
NEW YORK - Sept. 9, 2015 - PRLog -- FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitration Number 13-03642
Associated Person v. Member
Attorneys Brittany Weiner, Steven Fingerhut and Vincent Imbesi of Imbesi Law P.C., represented Claimant, a former employee of Respondent.
Attorneys Lawrence Sandak and David Reid of Proskauer Rose LLP represented Respondent J.P. Morgan Securities, LLC ("J.P. Morgan").
Attorney Brittany Weiner, a partner of the law firm Imbesi Law P.C., represented the victorious former FINRA associated person that filed a claim for arbitration with FINRA. After a five-day hearing, a FINRA arbitration panel issued an award recommending sections of Claimant’s Form U5 be expunged. The award recommended that the answer to Question 7(F)(2) on Claimant’s Form U5 be changed from “yes” to “no” and that Claimant’s Termination Disclosure Page be deleted in its entirety.
In her Statement of Claim, Claimant alleged that J.P. Morgan falsely accused her of misconduct which resulted in the termination of her license registration with FINRA. According to Claimant’s attorneys, J.P. Morgan refused to resolve the claim even after Claimant offered to not demand any monetary compensation ($0) and only requested amended words on her Form U5.
In addition to the recommended changes on Claimant’s Form U5, the arbitration panel assessed 100% of the hearing session fees to J.P. Morgan, totaling $13,200.00. J.P. Morgan was also mandated to pay $8,550 in member fees. The total amount equaled $21,750.00.
“The fact that J.P. Morgan refused to resolve the claim even after Claimant offered to accept no money, just a change of wording, was a huge mistake by J.P. Morgan, which most likely resulted in payment of legal fees and FINRA arbitration costs that could have been avoided,” Mr. Imbesi commented.
After the arbitration panel issued the written award, Lawrence Sandak, legal counsel for J.P. Morgan, issued a letter to the Regional Director of FINRA demanding the panel change its expungement determination. In his letter, dated August 26, 2015, Mr. Sandak set forth his version of the testimony that occurred during the hearing to support his demand.
Mr. Sandak concluded his letter by requesting the Regional Director take all steps necessary to modify the panel’s expungement award and “to more fairly allocate fees and costs between the parties.”
FINRA RULE 13905
J.P. Morgan’s submission after an award was issued is subject to FINRA Rule 13905. Rule 13905 indicates parties may not submit documents to arbitrators that have closed as case unless:
(1) as ordered by a court;
(2) at the request of any party within 10 days of service of an award or notice that a matter has been closed, for typographical or computational errors, or mistakes in the description of any person or property referred to in the award; or
(3) if all parties agree and submit documents within 10 days of (1) service of an award or (2) notice that a matter has been closed.
Rule 13905(b) requires parties that make a request after a case is closed to send the request to the Director that “must include the basis relied on under this rule for the request.”
FINRA DENIES J.P. MORGAN’S REQUEST
FINRA responded to Mr. Sandak’s request on September 3, 2015 by written correspondence. The response explained to Mr. Sandak that the arbitrators heard testimony on five (5) separate days and the panel issued a recommendation to modify certain section of Claimant’s Form U5.
The letter informed Mr. Sandak, “I understand you are unhappy with the panel’s decision to recommend the modification of Claimant’s Form U5. However, as a neutral administrator, FINRA does not have any input into the outcome of arbitrations.” FINRA’s letter represented that, “FINRA and its staff have no authority to modify or overturn an arbitration panel’s determinations. “
The letter concludes, “I am sorry you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this case.”
“It appears J.P. Morgan was not happy with the panel’s decision and attempted to have it changed pursuant to FINRA Rule 13905, but failed to sufficiently allege a basis to alter the award,” said Mr. Imbesi. He concluded, “Since Claimant attempted to change her Form U5 before even filing an arbitration claim and during the hearing, I can understand why J.P. Morgan is not happy with the outcome – it could have saved money by resolving the issue quickly and fairly.”
Brittany Weiner, a partner of Imbesi Law P.C., represents both customers and brokers in FINRA arbitration, including issues involving expungement of inaccurate information maintained in the CRD and on Form U5s. In some jurisdictions, this press release could be deemed as Attorney Advertising. Prior results to not guarantee future success.
Brittany Weiner win FINRA arbitration; Award grants full expungement of Form U5
In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Case Number 15-00385. Arbitration award in favor of FINRA broker grants complete expungement – changing the reason for termination on broker’s Form U5.
NEW YORK - Dec. 29, 2015 - PRLog -- A FINRA broker won complete expungement of his Form U5, deleting any reference to his license termination and changing the reason from termination from “Terminated” to “Voluntary.”
The FINRA Arbitration decision, issued December 18, 2015, set forth that the initial reason for termination on the broker’s Form U5 was false and defamatory.
Attorney Brittany Weiner, of the law firm Imbesi Law P.C., successfully represented the FINRA broker, which included an in-person hearing at FINRA’s Boston office.
The FINRA broker filed a claim for arbitration that requested various remedies and expungement of all relevant information from his Form U5 and BrokerCheck report.
After a hearing, the FINRA arbitrator issue an award that set forth:
The Arbitrator recommends that the current reason for termination on the Form U5 filed by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. on June 21, 2012 for Claimant Kevin M. Sullivan's (CRD # 3031620) registration records maintained by the Central Registration Depository ("CRD") be expunged and changed to "Voluntary" and the Termination Explanation appear blank. This recommendation is based on the defamatory nature of the information.
A copy of the decision can be obtained by accessing FINRA's website.
Imbesi Law P.C. represents both customers and brokers in FINRA arbitration, including issues involving expungement of inaccurate information maintained in FINRA’s CRD.
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