On April 28, 2012, Brian Smiley was a guest presenter at a public forum on “African Americans & Retirement” sponsored by the Economics Department at Spelman College and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Brian spoke on “How to Avoid Being a Victim of Investment Rip-offs & Frauds.” The forum was moderated […]
Houston & Lett v. Wells Fargo Advisors
(FINRA, 2011) Elderly Investor Recovers Losses Tied to UIT After a four day hearing, a panel of FINRA arbitrators awarded $130,000.00 in compensatory damages to our clients. The damages were for losses incurred by an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease whose funds were invested primarily in high-risk securities, including a Claymore Unit Investment Trust (“UIT”).
What’s a UIT?
With apologies to “My Cousin Vinnie,” a UIT is a Unit Investment Trust. UITs are investment products that brokers love to sell and investors should avoid. UITs are portfolios of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds which are assembled by trustees and then sold in units consisting of a portion of all of the assets in […]
SBP Investigating Wells Non-Traded REITs
The law firm of Smiley Bishop & Porter LLP is investigating potential claims against Wells Investment Securities, Inc. (“Wells Securities” and “Wells”) concerning its sales of Wells Real Estate Funds. Wells Securities is a Norcross, Georgia based broker-dealer which makes most of its revenue from selling Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”) and direct participation agreements. […]
Citigroup/Smith Barney MAT/ASTA Funds
Smiley Bishop & Porter LLP is investigating the Citigroup/Smith Barney MAT/ASTA Hedge Funds. The Funds were allegedly marketed as conservative, suitable investments. Unfortunately, the Funds were heavily leveraged and exposed to higher risk than represented. The Funds were involved in a risky investment strategy known as municipal arbitrage, and many investors were unaware of the […]
In 2002, Citigroup’s Smith Barney brokerage unit started marketing six MAT/ASTA hedge funds to its clients. These Citigroup proprietary funds were trusts, which used borrowed money to buy municipal bonds, and were supposed to make profits based on the spread in interest rates between borrowed and invested funds. Total assets in these funds were approximately […]
Regions Morgan Keegan Bond Funds
Smiley Bishop & Porter LLP has represented a number of individual and institutional investors who bought shares of Morgan Keegan’s RMK High Yield Bond Funds. RMK Funds were marketed as low risk investments, despite a high concentration in subprime mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. A particular problem was that the funds invested in low […]
East Tennessee Neurology P.C. Profit Sharing Plan v. Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc.
Profit sharing plan recovery for losses on RMK Bond Funds (FINRA, 2010) Brian Smiley and Mike Bishop, along with co-counsel, represented the pension plan for a medical practice. The plan’s losses arose from investments solicited in three Regions Morgan Keegan Bond Funds (RMK High Income, RMK Strategic Income, and RMK Multi-Sector Funds). These funds took incredible […]
Perkins and Powell v. Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc.
Recovery for losses in RMK Bond Fund (FINRA, 2009) Brian Smiley, Mike Bishop, and our co-counsel obtained an award of full compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, plus costs for two clients. The claim related to Regions Morgan Keegan’s Select Intermediate Bond Fund. In defending the case, Morgan Keegan used two expert witnesses, including a former chair of […]
Soden v. Scottrade, Inc. v. Soden
Successful defense of third-party claim brought by brokerage firm (FINRA, 2008) This was an unusual case in which we represented a widow who was sued by a brokerage firm on a third party claim for indemnification. After a hotly contested hearing that spilled over into court proceedings, the arbitrators entered an award in favor of […]