Broker-Dealer & Investment Adviser


Ulmer & Berne’s Broker-Dealer & Investment Adviser Industry group mirrors the law firm itself. That is, while we are national in scope, representing many of the nation’s largest brokerages and financial service firms, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Raymond James Financial, and Wells-Fargo Advisors, we remain proud of our strong regional roots, serving as counsel to many small and mid-sized firms, as well, not to mention individuals associated with those firms. We are adept in defending broker-dealers and investment advisors against any charges in any setting, whether in court, in administrative proceedings, or in arbitrations. It doesn’t matter if it’s the SEC, FINRA, a state securities commissioner, the CFTC, or the NFA, we are routinely in front of these entities, defending complaints, appearing at interviews both formal and informal, drafting responses to investigatory inquiries, and negotiating resolutions.  We handle dozens and dozens of customer arbitrations each year, answering allegations of securities fraud and violations of SEC and FINRA rules.

In addition to our extensive work on securities disputes with regulators and customers, Ulmer frequently litigates employment matters, such as cases involving trade secrets and alleged violations of non-solicitation agreements. Several of our lawyers have direct experience working at broker-dealer entities. When that experience combines with our legal knowledge and litigation skills, we see results like:

  • The complete defense verdict for the managing director of a major New York broker-dealer in a $900 million securities arbitration;
  • The successful defense of a national securities broker-dealers against a lawsuit by an Ohio country to recover $115 million in losses from a pooled investment fund; and
  • The dismissal of all charges against a broker-dealer faced with a class action alleging that it misled investors in limited partnerships.

In addition to representing clients in litigation and enforcement proceedings and arbitrations, our group’s “business-side” lawyers have extensive experience meeting the corporate and commercial legal needs of our broker-dealer and investment adviser clients, including structuring and conducting acquisitions, dispositions, and mergers,  advising clients on employment, compensation, underwriting, marketing, administrative services and other agreements, and negotiating equity and debt financing arrangements. With a “one-stop shop” practice approach, we can provide a full range of ongoing advice on topical issues to help our clients avoid regulatory scrutiny and customer complaints. From complex issues like anti-money laundering and cyber security to more mundane things like the completion of Forms ADV and U-5 and drafting business continuity plans, we handle them all, and we do so with the sort of attention one expects from a law firm still in touch with its humble beginnings.

Representative Experience