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  • 02/20/2020 4:11 PM | Anonymous

    Vulnerable Investor Legislation Moves Forward in Florida 

     

    For the third time in as many years, the Florida Legislature is considering adding a provision to Chapter 517 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Securities and Investor Act, which is designed to protect vulnerable investors, including persons who are more than 65 years old. The provision, similar to hold and report laws adopted by many other states, applies to both distributions from and transactions in the account of a vulnerable investor.

    Today, as in 2018 and 2019, the Florida House of Representatives approved the legislation. Today’s vote, unlike prior years, was unanimous, with no Representative voting against the legislation. The proposed legislation previously had moved swiftly through two subcommittees and the Commerce Committee of the Florida House of Representatives, again without a single Representative voting against the legislation.

    The legislation currently is pending before the Rules Committee of the Florida Senate and must receive approval from that committee before it goes to the full Florida Senate for a vote.  Two committees of the Florida Senate already have reviewed the proposed legislation without a single Senator voting against the legislation.   

    Under the legislation, a securities dealer or investment adviser may place a hold of up to 15 business days on a transaction or distribution if it reasonably believes that financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult has occurred or been attempted, or is occurring or will be attempted.  The legislation allows the firm to extend the hold for up to 10 business days if the firm’s review continues to support the hold.   The identical bills pending in the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate require the firm, within three business days, to report the initial hold to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), as well as all persons authorized to transact business in, and any designated trusted contact for, the vulnerable investor’s account.  The firm also must notify OFR of any extension of the original hold.   

    In 2018 and 2019, the Florida House of Representatives approved the vulnerable investor Legislation with less than a handful of Representatives voting against it.  Unfortunately, in 2018 and 2019, the legislation never made it to the floor of the Florida Senate for a vote.  Hopefully, this year will prove the old adage that “the third time is the charm,” and the Florida Senate will join the Florida House of Representatives in approving this significant and important legislation.

    BAR will update this report as new developments occur.


     

    If you’d like further details, please contact the author:

     

    Alex J. Sabo

    Principal | Florida

    asabo@bressler.com


  • 01/21/2020 11:45 AM | Anonymous

    New Jersey became the latest state to pass a law to better protect senior citizens from financial exploitation.

    Gov. Phil Murphy, D, signed the Safeguarding Against Financial Exploitation Act last week. Under the new law, a qualified individual who reasonably believes that financial exploitation of an eligible adult has occurred would be required to notify the Bureau of Securities as well as any applicable county adult protective services provider.

    A “qualified individual” is any agent, investment adviser representative or other person that serves in a supervisory, compliance, or legal capacity for a broker-dealer or investment advisor.

    “Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for senior citizens to be taken advantage of by people seeking to take their money, property, assets or identities,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex, Morris, in a statement. “These crimes often go unreported and untracked. The good news is financial exploitation can be prevented with the right protections in place.”

    McKeon was a prime backer of the legislation. The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ New Jersey chapter also lobbied hard for the law.

    “A law such as this is one more tool the professional members of NAIFA-NJ will have to keep older adults safe," said NAIFA-NJ President Corrado Gugliotta.

    The law also allows a broker-dealer or investment advisor to delay disbursement from an eligible adult’s account if it may result in financial exploitation. In so doing, the broker-dealer or investment advisor would be immune from any administrative or civil liability.

    A study published by MetLife Mature Market Institute last year estimates the financial loss by victims of elder financial crimes and exploitation at more than $2.9 billion dollars annually.

    Since 2018, more than two dozen states have enacted legislation to protect senior citizens from fraud, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


  • 01/14/2020 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    The FSDA’s mission focuses on industry advocacy, educational outreach, and investor education. The FSDA’s membership includes securities firms, investment advisors, and many others who have a stake in the industry. The group meets regularly to share ideas that support the FSDA’s mission.

    2019 was a busy year... CLICK HERE to read more!


  • 01/07/2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    FLORIDA, January 9, 2020 — As a new decade is ushered in, the Florida Securities Dealers Association{FSDA} is pleased to announce the 2020 incoming officers to the FSDA Board of Governors. The new officers include:

    President –– Katherine C. “Kacy” Donlon with Wiand Guerra King, Shareholder
    Vice President - Dan Newman with Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel, Partner
    Treasurer - Eric Siber with Capital Forensics, Inc., Managing Director
    Secretary – Kathy Conway-Yaffe with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Director and Market Supervision Manager
    President ex-Officio – Alex Sarafoglu with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Vice President

    The officers will serve in their executive leadership role for the FSDA and its members for the term of one year. Membership in the FSDA is open to all broker-dealer firms, investment advisers, law firms and consultants involved in or assisting the securities industry in Florida.

    “As we begin a new year and a new decade, our executive committee is eager to continue the great work of the FSDA, both in promoting the securities industry and educating the investing public,” states Donlon. “We encourage new members to join the FSDA who share in these goals.”

    With more than 60 Board members representing all segments of the securities industry, the FSDA is continually expanding its efforts, providing new opportunities for networking and improving the business climate for our industry in Florida.

    Since 1933, FSDA has been the voice of the securities industry in Florida. It is our mission to advocate on behalf of the industry and provide education opportunities for our members and Florida's investing public.


  • 12/03/2019 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    12/02/2019

    Tallahassee, Fla. – The Florida Office of Financial Regulation today announced that the Financial Services Commission has appointed Russell C. Weigel commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

    Commissioner Russell C. Weigel said, “I am pleased to be selected to serve this great state as commissioner of the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. I look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, CFO Patronis, Attorney General Moody, and Commissioner Fried to continue to fulfill OFR’s mission of growing the financial services industry and protecting Floridians from financial fraud.”

    Commissioner Weigel is an AV-rated securities attorney, with more than 25 years of legal experience, and a published author. In 2005, he founded Russell C. Weigel, III, P.A. (d/b/a InvestmentAttorneys), a securities transactional and litigation firm. Prior to that, he served as a securities transactional and litigation attorney for Carlton Fields, P.A., and Montello & Kenney, P.A., as an enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as an assistant state attorney for the Office of the State Attorney, Tenth Judicial Circuit. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Vanderbilt University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law. 


  • 11/27/2019 1:51 PM | Anonymous


    The award was established in 2014 and is presented to either a current or former FSDA member who has embodied the mission of the FSDA. Each recipient honored, has worked tirelessly to inspire, advocate for and empower the securities industry and to provide education opportunities for its members and the investing public. Having been an FSDA member for almost 30 years, and after having served admirably as FSDA president twice (2016 and 2018), this award is well-deserved.

    Alex is a Principal with Bressler, Amery & Ross. His litigation practice includes the representation of financial services firms in a myriad of cases. He has substantial courtroom experience, having tried civil and criminal cases and argued appeals in both state and federal court. Alex’s representation of the financial services industry includes regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, arbitrations and civil litigation, including class actions. He is an experienced litigator in bankruptcy court, representing creditors and defendants against whom an adversary proceeding is filed.

    A true trial lawyer and passionate advocate, Alex consistently executes and has achieved impactful resolution and forward thinking, trial ready dispute resolution strategy. He strives to deliver industry-leading value and an unwavering focus on meeting his client’s overall objectives at an appropriate cost.

    Alex is also a member of Bressler's Senior and Vulnerable Investor Group. The lawyers in this group have a shared interest in providing counsel to corporate clients who confront issues affecting seniors.

    Before joining Bressler, Alex served as an Assistant Public Defender from 1979-82; a Staff Attorney and Chief for the Branch of Investigations and Enforcement of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from 1982-84; and Corporate Counsel for Raymond James Financial, Inc. from 1984-89. He entered the private practice of law in May 1989.   

    In addition to his commitment to the law, Alex is a published short story writer and a dedicated swimmer and cyclist.


  • 11/27/2019 1:46 PM | Anonymous


    On November 4 and 5, 2019, an FSDA delegation met in Tallahassee with Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, Attorney General, Ashley Moody, legislators and members of the Office of Financial Regulation. The main purpose of the visit was to discuss yet-to-be-passed legislation designed to protect senior and vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. While the reception was overall positive, much work remains to secure passage of a new law during the 2020 legislative session.

    Recognizing the danger of financial exploitation to our most vulnerable population, more than 25 states have already adopted some protections that generally align with FINRA Rule 2165, which became effective in 2018, and: (1) permits its members to place temporary holds on disbursements of funds or securities from the accounts of specified customers where there is a reasonable belief of financial exploitation; and (2) amends FINRA Rule 4512 to require members to make reasonable efforts to obtain the name of and contact information for a trusted contact person for a customer’s account. 

    Our federal government also recognized the importance of vulnerable adults’ protection in 2018 when it passed the Senior Safe Act, which provides immunity from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding for reporting potential exploitation of a senior citizen.

    One of the FSDA’s important missions is to protect Florida’s elderly population from financial exploitation. Our voice has been heard! You can help by contacting your House representative or Senator to express your opinion.  




  • 10/10/2019 11:13 AM | Anonymous

    Market Trends: Rethink and Recalibrate - The FSDA recently hosted its annual Fall 2019 Industry Outreach Program in Boca Raton, Florida.

    The topics explored and discussed at this year’s event were as varied as the packed audience of professionals who attended from across the state of Florida and the U.S. Topics included: SEC’s Regulation Best Interest, Cryptocurrency and Securities Regulation in the Digital Age, Cannabis – Securities Industry Challenges, and Market Strategy — Recent Initiatives and Trends, presented by a broad spectrum of top professionals from across the industry.

    These thought-provoking topics fostered an atmosphere of lively discussion and questions from the audience. Attendees also had the opportunity to network throughout the event.

     The FSDA's Fall 2019 Industry Outreach Program is just one of the education opportunities provided each year as part of its ongoing mission to advocate on behalf of the industry and provide education opportunities for its members and Florida's investing public. To learn more about the FSDA and for more information about this event and other programs sponsored by the FSDA, visit FloridaSecurities.com






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