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.
Bob Lawson, CSCP, 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 firm.
In addition, Mr. Lawson serves as a FINRA Mediator and presides as a FINRA & NFA Arbitrator, Chairman -Qualified 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 a Certified Securities Compliance Professional (CSCP), 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: 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 and Charter Financial Analysist (CFA) Society.
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.