Financial advisors or wealth management firms spend years building an image for themselves. Their marketing strategies hinge upon terms like trust, experience, satisfaction, and so on. Eventually, they establish their brand equity and earn referrals to expand their business. But a single customer complaint can destroy everything they built over a period. The dispute can be without any merit; an investor may adopt a specific measure to make up investment losses. Or, it can happen when your previous brokerage firm where you worked as a financial advisor prods your customers to criticize you so that they don’t leave them.
In essence, you don’t need a valid reason to get customer complaints against your practice or firm. However, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has made specific provisions through FINRA Rule 2080 to tackle these events. Still, not many financial advisors are aware of them. They think these disputes can never end as the public records of their alleged criminal activities, financial settlements, and customer complaints remain easily accessible.
It is essential to know that all these are collected details. FINRA compiles and displays them. But the customer complaint records have a unique purpose. During the arbitration process, FINRA can identify and remove any meritless allegations.
What can lead to expungement?
A frivolous customer complaint can disappear from the public records on three conditions: a false claim, factual errors in the lawsuit, or no involvement of the accused party in the alleged violation. FINRA arbitration pursues these conditions thoroughly and widely, leading to almost more than 90% of expungement instances.
Why should a financial advisor aim for expungement?
One of the first reasons can be that the customer has enough proof to establish a claim and satisfy FINRA’s criteria to put it up on the record. Then, the decision can take about 10 to 12 months to materialize. If you are already out on your way from the industry, you will not have any justification about yourself. Plus, charges and hearings can cost you a significant amount of money. You have to be ready for all these situations if you decide to represent your case.
However, if you listen to experts, hiring a qualified FINRA lawyer makes more sense. The legal process requires absolute attention to detail and a formal approach. Even a small error can ruin your appeal for expungement. You will not be able to pursue it again. That’s why you need a legal expert.
Your attorney can guide you through the entire arbitration process smoothly by arranging all the supporting details in your favor. And if you succeed, you can gain your brand equity back. Your clean profile will restore on the records, and your reputation with clients and insiders will also improve. So, it would be best if you didn’t take any risk with your profession and name. When you are innocent, why pay the price for it. You have the right to represent your case and get a false statement against you exposed. Your hard work and sweat should not go waste.