MCS Associates is a nationally recognized consulting group that has provided financial, operations and regulatory/compliance consulting services nationwide to financial institutions, insurance companies and regulatory agencies as well as real estate and financial services organizations for over 40 years. Expert Witness and Litigation Consulting are a primary focus of our services. We undertake expert witness assignments throughout the United States and our clients include several hundred leading law firms around the country, working on behalf of both plaintiff and defendant financial institutions, borrowers, depositors, investors, developers, insurance companies and their insured, securities/insurance/real estate brokers/agents, regulators and government agencies, and individuals.
Together with MCS Associates’ specialized resources in banking, financial services and real estate, we also draw on key strategic alliances in insurance, economics, academia and the securities industry to meet a wide range of expert witness needs. Our litigation experts include experienced bankers, lenders, consultants, regulators, managers, brokers & agents in insurance, real estate, and securities; insurance claims and underwriting managers; economists, accountants, appraisers, real estate analysts, and academics.
Bob Lawson, AIF®, CFE®, MRFC®, LUTCF®, is a Securities & FINRA Expert Witness retained for FINRA arbitration, mediation, and federal/civil court litigation. Mr. Lawson possesses over 35 years of experience within the securities and insurance industries. In 1988, Mr. Lawson founded Barrington Capital Management, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisory firm and Insurance Agency, and currently serves as the Managing Principal of Barrington Financial Consulting Group, Inc, a 12-person Securities Litigation and Consulting Expert firm.
In addition, Mr. Lawson serves as a FINRA Mediator and presides as a FINRA & NFA Dispute Resolution Chairman for disputes concerning investors, financial services professionals, broker-dealers, and dually-registered investment advisers. Claims often arise regarding breach of fiduciary duties, securities fraud, employment disputes, conflicts of interest, churning, unsuitable investments, and failure to supervise, among others. Mr. Lawson also serves as a public mediator and is a Qualified Neutral under Minnesota Rule 114 of Standard Practice in Mediation and Arbitration. His breadth of experience includes managing and supervising FINRA broker-dealer branch offices as a Registered Securities Principal, Options Principal, and Chief Compliance Officer.
Mr. Lawson also has considerable experience with insurance products including variable annuities, fixed and indexed annuities, long term care, and life insurance. Mr. Lawson possesses numerous accolades and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE®), Master Registered Financial Consultant (MRFC), and a Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF®).
Retaining Mr. Lawson as an Expert Witness and Litigation Consultant will clarify and address relevant issues pertaining to your case from an insider's point of view. Upon a thorough examination and analysis of the case material, Mr. Lawson’s conclusions and opinions are impartial, objective, and predicated upon years of industry expertise and experience. Expert testimony and reports are supported by thorough and detailed research through case-specific analysis.
Bob is active in the following organizations: Vice-Chairman - Master Registered Financial Consultants | Mentorship and Practice Management Chair - Securities Experts Roundtable | Twin Cities Certified Fraud Examiners Association, Membership Chair - Minnesota State Bar Association ADR Section
In the securities brokerage industry, "selling-away" refers to the prohibited practice of an Associated Person effecting or soliciting the sale of securities or investment products not held or approved with whom the broker is affiliated without prior written consent. FINRA regulators have seen a steady flow of selling-away cases over the years involving registered representatives who are being targeted by issuers, promoters and marketing agents to sell their nontraditional investment products to their retail customers. In many instances, promoters of these products are marketing them as non-securities products that do not have to be sold through a broker-dealer by a registered person. In a significant number of cases, associated persons have sold these investments to their customers away from the broker-dealer and without firm approval as required by FINRA Rule 3270. Selling-away often occurs in an independent branch or a satellite office, where Associated Persons are removed from the day-to-day oversight and supervision of their brokerage firm's compliance department.
I receive phone calls throughout the year from attorneys who have taken on their first FINRA case and they frequently are unaware how the FINRA Dispute Resolution process differs from other venues. I thought it would be helpful to provide a quick overview for new participants and a refresher for those more experienced securities attorneys on how the FINRA Arbitration and Mediation process works.
In FINRA-related cases many attorneys see discovery requests objected to by opposing counsel. Typically, opposing counsel objects to discovery requests citing that items requested are either "overly broad, vague, or ambiguous", or "impermissible per FINRA's Code of Arbitration Procedure". However, despite opposing counsel's reasoning, many objections to discovery requests are irrelevant and do not hold up in regard to FINRA's Code of Arbitration Procedure. Attorneys should not be intimidated or discouraged by these objections, but rather should understand that FINRA's guidelines concerning arbitration allow for most applicable and reasonably obtainable discovery information to be delivered.
John T. Foster is the President and CEO of Bedford and Main Financial Consulting, which provides specialized consulting services primarily for broker-dealers and RIAs. Bedford and Main is listed in the FINRA Compliance Vendor Directory.
Mr. Foster calls upon his in-depth knowledge of broker-dealer management, operations and compliance to offer expert opinions and testimony. He has testified for both sides of the legal table in civil cases and FINRA arbitrations, promoting high standards of fairness for broker-dealers.
Mr. Foster specializes in clearing services and industry infrastructure litigation, along with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) issues for broker-dealers. Prior to founding Bedford and Main in 2011, he worked for 13 years in level positions for a large, multi-national clearing firm, allowing him to develop expertise with foreign accounts and anti-money laundering issues. He later served as the President/CEO of an independent broker-dealer, where he was responsible for a retail-based business and online brokerage services. The experience provided John with a uniquely relevant understanding of core SEC and FINRA compliance issues, such as suitability, supervision, senior issues, churning, and written supervisory procedures. He is proficient in matters related to client and firm interactions with both Financial Advisors and Online firms.
Advantages of our litigation services:
Senior Level Experience - Decades of diverse high-ranking management experience in the broker-dealer industry.
Previously held Series, 3,7,24, 27, 63.
Still Actively Engaged – John's expert witness business is a natural extension of his core consulting services. He is a CAMS Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist who annually conducts many independent AML reviews. John is also certified as a FINRA Dispute Resolution Arbitrator
- It would not be possible to hold to our standards of supporting the industry if we were not selective as to specific issues and our ability to ethically provide an expert opinion.
As a consulting firm that focuses on broker-dealers (B-Ds), we often have discussions with clients, particularly new start-up firms, who are looking to understand the big picture of what makes up the industry. This paper will attempt to expand on some of the particular points noted by FINRA and to provide more color on industry trends related to the makeup, business models, and structure of the current broker-dealer environment.
Frank Carr has extensive background and experience as an Investment Industry Employment and Compensation Expert Witness, especially Investment Management Firms, Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, Wealth Managers, and Broker-Dealers. Mr. Carr is a former corporate banker, investment firm Chief Financial Officer and a 20 year veteran of executive search for the Investment Management industry. He has written articles for and has been frequently quoted by publications such as Bloomberg News, CNN Money, Fund Fire, Ignites, Absolute Return, Hedge Fund Alert, and Hedge Fund Manager Week. Prior to entering the executive search field, he was the Chief Financial Officer of a Connecticut-based hedge fund and Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA). Mr. Carr started his career in commercial bank lending, initially with Citigroup in their Wall Street Commodities division and later specialized in financing independent feature film producers, TV producers, and television station owners on behalf of European American Bank in New York.
Litigation Support - Frank Carr is an Investment Industry Employment and Compensation Expert Witness who has been retained by both plaintiffs and defendants for American Arbitration Association, JAMS and FINRA arbitration, mediation, and federal court litigation. Mr. Carr has over 30 years of experience in Financial Services, Investment Management, and Banking and his areas of coverage include Traditional and Alternative Investments – Equities, Fixed Income, Mutual Funds, Hedge Funds, Private Equity, and Managed Futures. Specialist in Wall Street Divorce.
Areas of Expertise:
Employment and Hiring Practices
Institutional Asset Management
Broker / Dealers
Retail Financial Advisory
Sales Process for Investment Products
Prior Expert Witness Assignments:
Represented a hedge fund portfolio manager as an expert rebuttal witness in a high profile hedge fund employment/compensation lawsuit. Prepared a rebuttal opinion letter submitted to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Represented a $12 billion Texas-based SEC Registered Investment Adviser and leading global alternative credit manager in a JAMS arbitration regarding a terminated employee. Prepared a rebuttal expert witness report and provided live testimony at the JAMS arbitration hearing.
Represented a financial advisor in a FINRA arbitration against one of the top 5 U.S. wealth management firms. The scope of the opinion included projected career advancement, compensation analysis and calculation of lost earnings.
Represented a portfolio manager/ investment analyst in a wrongful termination action against one of the largest U.S. Broker-Dealers with over $600 billion in assets. The scope of the opinion included projected career advancement and compensation analysis. Prepared an expert witness report and provided live testimony at the FINRA arbitration hearing.
Education - Mr. Carr is a graduate of Williams College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Economy. He completed the Management Training Program at Citigroup in New York, including courses in accounting, finance, and capital markets. He has previously held FINRA licenses, Series 3, 6, and 63 and has completed Level I of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) program.
Daniel Reser is a trusted Fiduciary and Registered Investment Advisor. Prior to his role at Fiduciary Services, Inc., he served as Vice President and Manager for Wilmington Trust based in Santa Monica, CA, also of Bank of America, and Security Pacific Bank. Mr. Reser also has a JD from Southern Methodist University. In 1989, he graduated from the UCLA John Anderson Graduate School of Management Executive Program.
Mr. Reser is considered a highly effective and capable trust fiduciary due to his legal training, his extensive experience as a fiduciary for corporate reorganizations and retirement plans as well as his reputation for ethical business practices and pragmatic management style. He has been a corporate fiduciary for corporate securities and reorganization transactions as well as trustee and custodian of retirement plans for over 25 years. During his career, Mr. Reser has administered and managed a wide variety of Governmental, Corporate and Union Retirement Plans as plan trustee. His current role as principal of an investment advisory firm includes acting as Fiduciary for Company Stock in Retirement Plans including ESOPs.
Areas of Expertise:
Leveraged and Unleveraged ESOP Transactions
Acquisitions and Sales of Employer Stock by Company Retirement plans
Company Stock in Other Qualified Plans
ERISA Sec. 404 (c) protection for Employer Stock
Pass-through Voting and Tender Offer Decision Making
Management and Divestiture of Shares
Satisfying Independent Fiduciary Requirement for Meeting Prohibited Transaction Exemption in Connection with Settlement of Litigation Per P.T. Exemption 2003-39 of 12-31-03