PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety and the safety of our employees in response to the threats of COVID-19, we have encouraged all staff to work from home to the maximum extent possible. As a result, the office phone line may not be monitored at all times. Our attorneys are still available by email and can arrange to meet with you via phone or video-conference.

News And Thoughts On The Law In And Around New Orleans

Coronavirus and Margin Calls

Margin calls have become a major issues for investors as a result of the market turbulence caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Many investors use margin loans through their brokerage firm that are collateralized by the securities in their investment accounts.  FINRA has reported that, as of February 2020, the total balance of outstanding margin loans was in excess of $545 billion. When the value of investment accounts decline, as many did after the onset of the pandemic, margin contracts generally give brokerage firms the right to demand additional collateral from their customer, typically in the form of additional deposits into their brokerage account.  If the investor does not meet the margin call, firms may have the right to liquidate some or all of the positions held in the account to repay the balance of the margin loan. 

Reasonover & Berg Attorneys Receive Honors

The firm is proud to announce that that it has recently received honors in two respected legal publications. Kirk Reasonover and Nicholas Berg have been listed in the 2020 publication of Super Lawyers magazine.  Super Lawyers is a rating service that lists lawyers in various practice areas who have been selected based upon a patented selection process, that includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluation. Kirk Reasonover made the Super Lawyers list in the area of business litigation. The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than five percent of the attorneys in each state.  Mr. Reasonover has been recognized by Super Lawyers every years since 2012. 

Does Your Broker Have a Conflict of Interest?

Does your broker have a conflict of interest? The answer, most likely, is yes. The traditional form of compensation received by brokers is a commission each time an investment is bought or sold in your brokerage account. This compensation structure gives your broker financial incentives that are not aligned with your own. By receiving a commission based upon the frequency of trades in your account, a broker has a financial incentive to engage in more trades, regardless of whether that is actually in your financial best interest.  Under the commission-based compensation model, there is no direct link between the amount of the broker's compensation and the financial performance of your account. 

The End of Forced Arbitration?

Whether you realize it or not, if you have an account with a brokerage firm, it likely includes a mandatory arbitration provision, which provides that you waive your right to file suit against the brokerage firm in court. Instead, all disputes with the brokerage firm will be submitted to arbitration through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  FINRA (formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)) is a self-regulatory organization, funded by the brokerage industry.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Empower SEC to Seek Restitution For Investors

On March 14, 2019, Senators Mark R. Warner, a Democrat from Virginia and John Kennedy, a Repuplican from Louisiana, introduced the Securities Fraud Enforcement and Investor Compensation Act, a bipartisan bill that would empower the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") to seek restitution for investors harmed by securities fraud. Many investors do not realize that under current law, the SEC often does not have the ability to make investors whole, because it is only authorized to seek disgorgement of profits from wrongdoers, not restitution of the full amount of damages that they inflict upon investors.

Volatility-linked Investment Products may be Unsuitable for Most Investors

Investments in volatility-linked investment products raise suitability concerns for retirees and other retail investors.  The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) attempts to track 30-day forward looking volatility in the stock market based upon the price of S&P 500 Index put and call options. It is often referred to as the "fear index," because its value generally increases when traders are concerned about future volatility in the stock market.


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Reasonover & Berg, LLC
400 Poydras Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130

Phone: 504-613-4941
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