Working for Justice

Financial Mismanagement and Investment Fraud

The Various Places Where Excessive Fees May Be Hidden in Your 401(k) Plan

So-called defined-contribution plans—such as 401(k) plans—have become “the primary private savings vehicle for most Americans’ retirement.”[1] The assets held by 401(k) plans have more than doubled over the past decade, and as of 2019, these plans held a whopping $6.4 trillion in retirement savings.[2] With trillions at issue and the retirement security of millions of […]

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Should Your 401(k) Plan Invest in Private Equity?

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued a guidance document explaining that 401(k) plans are permitted to invest in private equity funds, albeit only indirectly.[1] The DOL touts its new guidance as a policy that “level[s] the playing field for ordinary investors” and helps “ensure that ordinary people investing for retirement have the opportunities […]

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401(k) Participants Can Be Prime Targets of Cross-Selling Efforts

Participants in their company’s 401(k) plan have come to expect that their employer will protect their personal information from disclosure outside the plan. However, plan participants of Shell Oil’s 401(k) have filed a case in federal court in Galveston, Texas – Harmon v. Shell Oil Company – alleging Shell took no action to stop the […]

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Understanding 401(K) Documents: The Annual Fee Disclosure

401(k) documents are notoriously mystifying—and notoriously ignored. “I must say,” admitted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at recent oral argument of the United States Supreme Court, “I don’t read all the mailings that I get about my investments.” For about 72 million American workers, 401(k)s are “nest eggs.” Employees expect their 401(k) investments, along with social […]

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Now is a Good Time to Judge Your Company’s Management of Its 401(k) Plan

No doubt you have seen the news recently about the stock market gyrations caused by the uncertainties arising from Covid-19.  Because many Americans’ retirement savings are invested directly and indirectly in the stock market, now may be the time to evaluate how your 401(k) is holding up through this market volatility. Foremost, a fund that […]

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S.E.C. Regulates Initial Coin Offerings

“Crypto crime”—that is, crime involving cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, including fraud and hacking—has cost investors approximately $4.3 billion in 2019 alone.[1] That number may rise as cryptocurrencies become more popular and accessible to the public. If cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are unregulated, companies and individuals can continue to prey on unsuspecting investors and […]

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Kick-Backs Put Deutsche Bank in SEC’s Crosshairs

Deutsche Bank is in the news again, this time for false and misleading sales practices. At the heart of a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was a quid pro quo relationship in which Deutsche Bank offered only those funds whose sponsors agreed to kick-back a portion of their management fees to […]

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It’s Great You Have a 401(k) – But Who’s Minding the Store?

In recent years, employees have been filing an increasing number of meritorious lawsuits against employers for 401(k) mismanagement.  These claims are in the tens of millions of dollars and range from disloyalty to imprudence to disregarding conflicts of interest.  Some of the more egregious claims come when employers populate 401(k) plans with their own expensive […]

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Pump and Dump Schemes: The Trojan Horse of Investments

In the realm of financial services, unknowing investors often fall victim to various securities fraud schemes, and one of the more common ones is the “pump and dump.” “Pump and dump” schemes are often associated with penny stock fraud and microcap fraud and are serious violations of the law. The “pump and dump” is a […]

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Investor Trap: Beware of the Churn and Burn

Typically, stockbrokers earn commissions each time an investor enters a securities order to buy stock or a sell stock. Full-service stockbrokers earn higher commissions than online stockbrokers because unlike online stockbrokers, full-service stockbrokers provide investors with the added service of advising you when to buy, sell or hold particular investments. Because stockbrokers are paid on […]

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5th Circuit Kills DOL Fiduciary Duty Rule

The average person seeking financial advice for their retirement is unaware that the persons giving them advice are under no obligation to be loyal to their needs, to make prudent investment recommendations for them, or overall to act in their best interest. As a result, over the years many financial advisers motivated by their own […]

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Sanford Heisler Sharp is Investigating Misconduct Involving Options Assignment

Sanford Heisler Sharp is currently investigating the way E* Trade recently handled the assignment of a naked in-the-money put on the S&P 500 ETF (symbol SPY). A volatile price drop in SPY on the Friday of expiration triggered a likely assignment of 5,000 SPY shares. Rather than closing out the put contract before the close […]

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SEC Proposes Regulation to Enhance Investor Protection

In an effort to enhance investor protections, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing a new rule – Regulation Best Interest – that may come as a surprise to some investors. The SEC’s proposed rule requires your stockbroker to act in your best interest at the time he or she recommends an investment to […]

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That Loan Officer is NOT Your Friend: Identifying, Avoiding, and Prosecuting Predatory Lending

Did you know that, except in a few unusual circumstances, lenders and bank loan officers do NOT owe you a duty to act in your best interest?  Did you know that it is legal for them to offer you, and even recommend, a loan that you are not equipped to pay back? Oftentimes, when people […]

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Fraudulent Investment Schemes Continue to Plague Investors: Beware of the “Red Flags”

We want to share with you a disturbing tale we heard recently from an investor in a private investment fund. We share this to alert you to “red flags” that signal the high likelihood of investor fraud. If you can spot them, you can better protect yourself from financial predators. The enactment of the Dodd-Frank […]

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