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Securities Employment, Transitions & Forgivable Loans

From Jenice's interview for the Masters of the Courtroom series on
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Changing employers in the securities industry can sometimes be the hardest thing to do, especially if you are a retail financial advisor or sought after analyst or dealmaker. There can be battles over clients, restrictions to overcome in non-compete clauses and garden leaves to contend with. You need experienced New York securities employment lawyers to navigate this tricky and dangerous landscape.

Moreover, the grass always seems greener at a new firm, but are they willing to put all their promises in writing? Malecki Law frequently hears about the false representations and fraudulent inducement of a financial advisor to move his or her book of business to another firm with big upfront bonuses at different asset transfer marks, only to experience broken promises of around branch commitments, staffing, assistants and the like – making them unable to hit back-end bonuses.

The New York securities employment lawyers at Malecki Law are skilled in counselling clients through the many securities industry employment issues during employment transitions to proactively avoid lost business, FINRA regulatory involvement, litigation or actions being instituted against current and former employees. This includes, but is not limited to, representation in:

  • Transitions between brokerage firms and RIAs
    • This involves moving client accounts in a legal and ethical way without breaking privacy laws
    • For other professionals, this means not taking trade secret information or models and methodology
  • Employment Contract Negotiation
    • You may want to proactively deal with employment restrictions at your current employer as you are leaving.
    • You need to document the promises by your new employer.
  • Promissory Note and Forgivable Loan Defense
    • You need to deal with any unpaid balance to the firm you are leaving (and this could include an arbitration involving employment related issues). Firms will pursue you for unpaid balances and you need to either fight back, pay it or negotiate a payment plan. Malecki Law’s securities industry employment lawyers are skilled in getting the best deals possible for its clients.
  • Wrongful Termination and Constructive Discharge
    • Because securities industry professionals utilize FINRA Dispute Resolution’s arbitration forum for brokerage disputes and generally Registered Investment Advisors (“RIAs”) use the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), many securities employees, even in at-will states, can bring actions for wrongful termination and be heard regarding what they feel was done wrongfully by their employer. That could be statutory discrimination and/or harassment claims, but could also involve the firm’s disparate treatment of a professional who is terminated or forced to leave with no good reason or a pre-textual false reason.
  • Compensation, Bonus and Commission Claims
    • A trick in the industry to boost certain bonuses is to eliminate people in the pool before bonuses are paid. Most firms require that you be employed and in good standing to receive a bonus, even though it already may have been earned. Many states, like NY, are protective of compensation issues as it relates to employment and a skilled securities employment arbitration lawyer like those at Malecki Law can navigate these arguments to work at getting that bonus paid.
  • Assisting in the Writing of Reporting Requirements for Forms U-4, U-5, & Disclosure Reporting Pages (“DRPs”)
    • When you get that feeling that something is not right, an investigation is going on regarding something or you have JUST been terminated, get a securities industry lawyer to intervene to help obtain the best possible language for your Form U5 before it is too late. Once the Form U5 is filed, it will ordinarily take an arbitration to change it and that could take up to two years. 
  • Severance Package Termination Agreements
    • An old adage is true with severance packages: “you don’t get what you don’t ask for.” You have the right to have a lawyer review any documents a firm requests that you sign. That lawyer has the right to suggest changes and modifications, including the dollar amount. Malecki Law’s employment lawyers stand ready to help negotiate severance packages and termination agreements. The firm has a lawyer and so should you.

Our securities employment law firm in New York will provide representation to a variety of industry participants in employment and securities intra-industry matters, including professionals from all areas of a brokerage firm and RIA, registered investment advisor.

Firms often recklessly and maliciously go out of their way to tarnish financial professionals on their way out the door to stop a transition or slow them down for customer retention purposes, intervening in customer relationships. These issues can make and break a career, and an unclean Form U5 Termination Notice filing will definitely start a FINRA 8210 regulatory investigation. 

If you are considering transitioning or just have had a “bad feeling” about something happening at the office, be proactive and hire securities employment attorneys in New York that Malecki Law employs to prevent avoidable issues. Documentation and a lawyer interacting during the events in documenting emails to in-house counsel the issues at hand can save a career. 

A lot of people do not want to admit that it is time to end the “bad marriage” they are in with a brokerage firm or registered investment advisor. However, when you have a gut feeling that people are not “with you,” you have to take proactive steps to document and prepare for the possible issues coming down the pike. You need to ensure that the firm’s lawyers know that you have lawyers of your own that are monitoring and interacting in the process. Your career may not have time for an expungement arbitration. Even a new employer can pull out of their offer and terminate you. You will find it hard to get a new job.

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Testimonials From Former Clients
I highly recommend Jenice and her team at Malecki Law. I had a challenging, and lengthly case. Jenice was professional, very knowledgeable, and a pleasure to work with. She managed to make the process far less stressful during a very difficult time. They care about their clients, and it definitely shows. Mario
Jenice is truly a miracle worker and one of the top securities lawyers. She handled a very difficult case for us, displaying her legal knowledge, intelligence, and savviness throughout the process. I cannot recommend her enough. The quality of work from her team rivals that of corporate law firms. She was always available, extremely professional, and made sure to know all the details of the case. We were very fortunate to have been referred to Jenice and highly recommend her for any securities related legal issues. Nathan A.
An excellent professional who represented us in trial regarding a bank fraud, an unexpected and difficult time. A professional that worked hard, persevering and who stood toe to toe against firms that had a team of excellent lawyers backing them up. Her unflinching determination really stands out, it makes you feel you have someone who really cares about trying to recover what you lost from the people that wronged you. Salomon Levi
It is difficult to thank you in words when gratitude comes from the heart, so I will try to link feelings with writing. It is essential for us to mention your excellence as a professional, your aptitude on legal fields, and your unavoidable persistence. All of these virtues that elevate the profession you exercise in such an admirable way, go hand in hand with your sense of ethics, your human warmth and the transparency in your actions. To sum up, thank you for being a listening ear and for having the right word while transmitting information about the legal process. Having you as our representative during such an adverse situation was a privilege and enough reason for our eternal gratitude. Angeles Aparain
To say that my securities litigation was complex would be a severe understatement. With multiple parties involved and spanning many years, trying to understand the issues was daunting to say the least. Jenice and her team broke down the transactions by segment and by party uncovering every hidden expense. In the end, I was more than happy and could not thank Jenice and her team enough. I would not hesitate to recommend Jenice to anyone. She is highly professional, incredibly knowledgeable, well connected to industry experts, has a tireless work ethic and is so pleasant and easy to communicate with. Five stars for sure! Andrew Loughrane