Do I need a lawyer for a FINRA OTR?

Here at The Beck Law Firm, LLC, we help financial advisors protect their number one investment: their careers.One good way to help protect the advisor’s career, is to ensure that the advisor has knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel advising him or her every step along the way.But some advisors wait until it may be too late to get a lawyer involved, and they do that to their detriment, in many situations.

For example, we get phone calls from advisors who tell us that they have dealt directly with FINRA during the course of an investigation, and typically may have provided a written response or two to FINRA, and then sitting down with FINRA staff in person for an OTR (an on-the-record interview). Sometimes the advisors naively think along these lines: “I haven’t done anything wrong that I know of. I’ll go in and talk to them and tell the truth. I’m sure everything will be just fine.”

Recently, Joel got a call from an advisor who had represented himself before FINRA through some written responses and a very lengthy and detailed OTR.The advisor said that FINRA contacted him and informed him that they were looking to bring several charges against the advisor, but that they would settle the matter if the advisor agreed to be barred from the industry.In other words, if he took the settlement, his career would be over, and he could not be registered with a broker-dealer again.This was a surprise to him, given the approach he had taken to deal with everything himself, and his false confidence that everything would be fine once he told his story.

Is it a wise idea to go to a FINRA OTR on your own? In our view, it is not. Rather, the wise approach for a financial advisor whenever they’re contacted by any regulator is to immediately get legal counsel involved. They need somebody who has gone through the process who understands the rules and can objectively help them assess and analyze the situation and the possible risks that you might face, and to prepare them for interviews with regulators, etc.

If FINRA has asked you to come in for an OTR, you need Joel Beck’s new book, “The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Regulatory Investigations.” You can find it online at Amazon.But, if you’re the subject of a regulatory investigation, contact us today to request a free copy. We’ve also got a wealth of other information online here at our blog and on our YouTube channel about the FINRA exam and enforcement process.

If we can be of help to you with a regulatory investigation, or another matter involving regulatory or compliance needs, we invite you to give us a call today.