Friday, September 5, 2014

Introducing The HCBA Securities Law Section

By Jared Perez

We are excited to announce that the Hillsborough County Bar Association launched a Securities Law Section beginning July 1. This is the only section of its kind in the greater Hillsborough and Pinellas County area.

Over the upcoming year, we will hold events such as luncheons and CLE-accredited panel presentations designed to provide learning and networking opportunities for attorneys and other professionals working in all aspects of the securities or financial services industries. The presentations will focus on current issues in the securities litigation, regulatory, enforcement, white-collar, and transactional arenas. 
Securities law may seem like a specialized practice area, but its reach is broader than one might imagine. For example, the anti-fraud provisions of Florida’s securities laws apply not only to the purchase or sale of a security but also to “the rendering of any investment advice.” § 517.301, Fla. Stat. That language encompasses traditional broker-dealer and investment adviser activity, but it is broad enough to reach, with some important exceptions, “any commitment of money or property principally induced by a representation that an economic benefit may be derived from such commitment.” Id. As such, commercial litigators and other business practitioners who do not specialize in securities litigation may nevertheless be interested in joining the Securities Section. 

In addition, because of this state’s relatively high population of retirees and elderly people, Floridians are all too often the targets of investment scams like Ponzi schemes. Such scams tout consistent, market-beating returns through stocks, bonds, partnership interests, and more exotic revenue streams. The Securities Law Section plans to work with regulators and practitioners to develop content of interest to practitioners who serve these populations, including financial planners, elder law practitioners, and trusts and estates attorneys. 

No matter your primary practice area, we hope you will take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Securities Law Section, and we welcome your ideas concerning how we may better serve you. Specifically, the Securities Law Section will have as many as three committees. First, the litigation committee will focus on securities litigation, including private securities fraud claims and litigation between investment professionals and their customers. Second, the regulatory committee will focus on enforcement and compliance matters; its members hope to work closely with pertinent regulators, including the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Third, if there is sufficient interest, the transactional committee will focus on securities transactions, ranging from mergers and acquisitions to private and public offerings. 

Each committee will be responsible for planning and hosting at least one event per Bar year. If you are interested in being a member of the Securities Law Section or serving on a committee, please contact one of the section co-chairs, Jared Perez or Dominique Heller. If you are interested in speaking or presenting at one of our events this year or simply have a substantive topic you would like to learn more about, please let us know. With your help, we look forward to a productive and educational Bar year.