Financial Markets

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Over the next decade, the financial markets industry will undergo significant changes. Top business concerns facing clients will increasingly become more centered on increased regulation, a large baby boomer population that is redefining retirement and investing, and the need to compete more aggressively in a transparent marketplace. Such extensive changes will require the retention of solid legal counsel.

Briggs and Morgan’s Financial Markets Group is comprised of diverse individuals with extensive backgrounds in the legal, regulatory, financial services, investment, insurance and retirement industries. Whether you are a financial services company, investment adviser, plan sponsor, private fund or a broker-dealer, Briggs offers counsel to you in structuring products and services, securities regulatory counseling, investigations and regulatory proceedings, consumer disputes, complex litigation, class actions and corporate governance.  

We understand the ongoing challenge and increased pressure to respond to regulatory entities such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC); the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Department of Labor and the state insurance commissioners. Of tremendous interest is the Department of Labor’s new Conflict of Interest (or Fiduciary Duty) Rule and its implications for all financial institutions and plan sponsors.

The rich backgrounds of our individual attorneys offer extensive knowledge for working through compliance issues—both reactive and proactive. Our attorneys also address trading issues, new product development, and corporate governance.

Compliance Issues

We understand the ongoing challenge and increased pressure to respond to regulatory entities such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC); the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD); and other Self-Regulated Organizations (SROs).  The rich backgrounds of our individual attorneys offer extensive knowledge for working through compliance issues—both reactive and proactive. Our attorneys also address trading issues, new product development, and corporate governance.

Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution is another focus of the Financial Markets Group. Our attorneys regularly handle a variety of types of disputes from consumer disputes to large fraud and white-collar criminal cases. While most disputes are resolved through arbitration or mediation, we are experienced representing in the defense of financial services clients in the areas of contract, fraud, and securities litigation and are able to take on complex litigation and class action suits. 

General Business Counseling

In addition to the regulatory and dispute resolution services, the Financial Markets Group also offers general business counseling in the areas of market behavior, securities, futures, hedge funds, commodities, fixed and variable annuities, swaps, cross border financing, mutual funds, managed money, reinsurance, and more.  Our attorneys have assisted in the structuring of financial instruments, roll-ups, investment workouts, and manufactured products.

Complex Financial Services Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Regulatory and Enforcement Counseling

Representative Matters

  • As lead counsel, managed opt-out litigation throughout the United States. Some 38,000 policyholders opted out of the settlement of the vanishing premium class action case.
  • As lead trial counsel, obtained a significant award in raiding case that Registered Representative magazine described as one of the largest and most wide ranging awards rendered in such a case.
  • As lead trial counsel, obtained the dismissal, on Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) Motions, of putative securities class actions brought under the Exchange Act, ERISA and state law because of the precipitous drop in the price of a registrant's common stock.
  • Brought claims on behalf of employer against former employees for misappropriation of trade secrets, conversion, tortious interference with business and employment relationship, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract.
  • Counsel for a promoter of one of the largest commodities fraud actions brought in the United States.
  • Counseled broker dealer and its financial advisors in dispute involving competing claims by a customer's children regarding the division of assets and customer's competence.
  • Counseled broker dealer in dispute involving competing claims by a customer's beneficiaries.
  • Defended founder of a company accused of mail and wire fraud for failure to pay Minnesota sales taxes. No charges were filed. The other targets plead guilty and were sentenced to the federal penitentiary.
  • Dismissal on Rule 12(b)(6) Motion of an action brought under Section of the Exchange Act for alleged improper short swing profits. Donoghue v. Patterson Cos., 990 F. Supp. 2d 421 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).
  • Global representation in connection with disaster planning for the Y2K potential crisis.
  • Lead counsel in the defense of an action brought by an employer who improperly used annuities to fund retirement plans in violation of Section 419 of the Tax Code and ERISA, allegedly based upon the advice of the manufacturer.
  • Lead counsel in the representation of an insurance company before the New York Department of Insurance.
  • Lead counsel in the revision of an insurance manufacturer's revision of its suitability systems to comply with newly published and adopted regulations.
  • Lead investigation into the alleged misconduct of senior leaders of a financial institution who were suspected of creating sham corporations to convert fees and commissions owed the insurance company for their own use.
  • Lead regulatory counsel to an insurance company in an investigation by a state insurance commissioner, based upon a customer complaint regarding the sale of an equity-indexed universal life policy.
  • Lead trial and liaison counsel for the Investment Banker Defendants in the largest securities case tried to a jury.
  • Lead trial and regulatory counsel to a broker/dealer whose registered representative functioned as an unlicensed investment advisor.
  • Lead trial counsel for a defendant in the last major antitrust action heard in the District Court of Minnesota.
  • Lead trial counsel for national bank in dispute with borrower over payment of insurance proceeds for property damage.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of a class action brought in California state court by a 74-year-old blind man who mortgaged his home to purchase a deferred annuity.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of a putative class action brought in connection with the acquisition of a publicly traded company.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of an action brought by the Minnesota Attorney General alleging that the sale of deferred annuities to seniors and other suspect classes was deceptive, violated consumer protection statues and the sales were not suitable.
  • Lead trial counsel in the defense of class actions brought in connection with the alleged misrepresentation and omission of material facts in connection with the issuance of $700 million of oil and gas limited partnerships interests.
  • Lead trial counsel in the representation of a broker/dealer that underwrote the issuance of securities issued by Citi-Equity Group in connection with the development of low income housing.
  • Lead trial counsel in the representation of farmers and ranchers who were denied due process in the issuance of an order by a state agency denying them the exercise of their water rights to irrigate their crops and water their livestock.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense and resolution of a class action comprised of 76,000 elderly customers who held $21 billion of fixed deferred annuities brought against the manufacturer and distributor of the annuities.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a broker/dealer accused of failure to supervise a registered representative who took discretion of the account of an octogenarian suffering from dementia.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a class action securities claim brought against a publicly traded company, its principals and its largest shareholder: an Indian pharmaceutical company.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a class action, bankruptcy clawback and 250 arbitrations brought in Michigan arising out of a massive Ponzi scheme involving the Ed May Deals.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of a suitability claim brought by the minor children and incapacitated adults of a Native American Indian tribe against a global financial services organization.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of actions brought in various different jurisdictions by individuals who opted out of a class action. All of the actions were dismissed on Motion.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful defense of 14 claims tried in arbitration involving the sale of bogus promissory notes and viaticals in a Ponzi scheme.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful dismissal and settlement of an action brought in Mississippi federal and state court involving alleged forgery by the insurance company's agent to obtain insurance proceeds.
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful representation of a publicly traded company in 17 class actions brought in four jurisdictions.
  • Lead trial counsel that successfully prosecuted a RICO claim against a customer that "bounced" $48 million in checks to cover a margin call and then arranged a worthless financing scheme to "cover" the loss.
  • Lead trial counsel to the registrant in the first decision in the Eighth Circuit interpreting the scope of Section 16(b) short swing profit statutory scheme. Successfully defended the claim, obtaining summary judgment from the trial court after appeal.
  • Obtained expungement of adverse, factually unsupported disclosures on financial advisor's FINRA BrokerCheck report after panel hearing and state-court award confirmation proceedings.
  • Obtained expungement of adverse, factually unsupported disclosures on financial advisor's FINRA BrokerCheck report in a declaratory judgment action in Minnesota state court.
  • Obtained expungement of adverse, factually unsupported disclosures on financial advisor's FINRA BrokerCheck reports in Minnesota state court.
  • Obtained one of three judgments on a personal gauranty for a private investor and defeated debtor's argument that personal liability for judgments was limited to $1M guaranty cap.
  • Regularly represent Fortune 500 company in mortgage buy-back litigation, including defense of claims by Residential Funding Company bankruptcy estate.
  • Resolution of problems associated with senior leader posting disparaging information about a publicly traded competitor on a message board, while taking short position through naked options in the competitors' publicly traded common stock.
  • Successful representation of the target of a multi-state market conduct examination.
  • Trial counsel in an action brought to quiet title in the name of the exploratory partner in a joint venture to explore and develop uranium reserves in Texas.

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