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News and Events
Melinda Steuer featured in Forbes Magazine commenting on
costs and fees associated with variable annuities
Securities Fraud Case Kept Out of Arbitration

The California Fifth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed the decision of the Stanislaus County Superior Court denying a motion to compel arbitration brought by the defendants, in the case of Wyba Nienstadt et. al. v. Pasquale Vitucci et. al. The court ruled that the arbitration agreements were unenforceable because Mr. Vitucci did not provide the clientsthe forms which contained the arbitration provisions. Virtually all securities broker-dealers require customers to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of opening an account. It is very rare for a court to find such an arbitration agreement to be unenforceable. To read the appellate court opinion, click the pdf document link near the bottom of the page.

Pacific Bell Retiree Featured in the Jan 2011 Edition of AARP Magazine

The January, 2011 edition of AARP magazine features the story of Adela Pena, an early retiree from Pacific Bell. Ms. Pena told AARP magazine that she was convinced to retire early, cash out her pension, and invest the lump sum from her pension cash-out into a variable annuity, by her former financial advisor. As a result, Ms. Pena has lost almost all of her retirement money and subsists on Social Security. To read more about Ms. Pena, click the article link at the bottom of the page.  

Securities and Exchange Commission Staff Report Recommends Holding Securities Brokers and Broker-Dealers to a Fiduciary Standard

Under California law, securities brokers and broker-dealers owe what is known as a “fiduciary duty”, which requires them to act in the best interest of their customers and to put their customers’ interest ahead of their own. However, many states do not impose a fiduciary duty upon securities brokers and broker-dealers. Even in California, brokers and broker-dealers often argue that they do not owe any fiduciary duty to their customers. In a recent report, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission found that brokers and broker-dealers, nationwide, should be held to a fiduciary standard. To read the report, click here.

Appellate Court Opinion
AARP Article