Securities Arbitration Filings Up

4,991securities arbitration cases have been filed at FINRA this year as of the end of August 2009. That is a 65% increase from 2008. Based upon our firm’s case log and speaking with other attorneys who represent investors in securities arbitrations, I expect the numbers to increase even more by year end. The dramatic drop in the securities markets in 2008 and 2009 exposed some dubious behavior, including the misrepresentation of bond funds as low risk (ie Morgan Keegan, Citigroup MAT and Falcon, Schwab Yield Plus). Also, structured products, such as the Lehman Brothers Structured Notes sold by UBS, were pitched as safe alternatives to bonds and imploded causing many arbitration claims. The increase in case filings in 2008 and 2009 is the first big spike in filings since the 2001 through 2003 time period after the tech market collapsed. New case filings reached almost 9,000 in 2003. Many inexperienced attorneys jumped into the securities arbitration practice area after the tech bubble and got clobbered by savvy defense counsel. With the Madoff and Stanford scandals generating so much attention to the investment fraud area, we’ll see if it happens again in this cycle.

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