Understanding the Case Against Richard G. Michalski of Laidlaw & Co.

As a financial analyst and writer, it’s my responsibility to unpack complex issues and make them understandable. Today, I’ll discuss the storm of allegations surrounding Richard G. Michalski, a broker formerly affiliated with Laidlaw & Co. in New York. The SEC and FINRA have brought these allegations against him to the public’s attention.

Who is Richard G. Michalski?

I’ve been in this industry long enough to recognize a varied career when I see one. Since 2002, Michalski has worked in the securities industry, with stints at firms like Kuhns Brothers Securities Corporation and Casimir Capital L.P., before finding a more permanent spot at Laidlaw & Co.

The Recent Allegations

We’re here to peel back the layers of the recent misconduct claims. Between July 2020 and October 2021, Michalski and another respondent, Michael Murray, are alleged to have made suggestions to clients that were not in line with professional standards. They’re accused of putting their own financial benefits above those of their clients—a cardinal sin in our field.

As a result of these actions, Michalski has been handed quite the punishment: An order to cease any further violations, a six-month suspension from professional affiliations within the financial sector, and hefty financial penalties totaling over $132,000 when you factor in disgorgement, interest, and a civil penalty.

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History of Complaints

This is not the first smudge on Michalski’s record. In December 2008, while with Casimir Capital, he faced a customer complaint regarding the amount charged in trading commissions. The issue was noteworthy enough to lead to a $35,000 settlement, further tarnishing Michalski’s reputation.

Why Should We Care?

You might ask why any of this matters. To put it simply, investment trading can be a double-edged sword. It’s a space for wealth generation, but also for potential abuse and predatory behavior. Instances like Michalski’s highlight why we need a strong regulatory framework—for the protection of investors everywhere.

Investors, please take note: Financial advisors and brokerage firms have a legal duty to recommend investments suited to your needs. When they fall short, it’s not just a breach of trust; it’s a legal failing for which you may seek compensation.

In closing, I’d like to mention a fact that many aren’t aware of: some estimates indicate that 7% of financial advisors have been disciplined for misconduct. It serves as a stark reminder that diligence is vital when trusting someone with your finances. And to ensure you’re dealing with a credible advisor, always check their [FINRA CRM number](https://brokercheck.finra.org/).

It’s true that investing is not for the faint of heart. It demands meticulousness and the wisdom to tell a trusty advisor from a misleading one. As Warren Buffett once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” While stories of wealth abound, Michalski’s cautions us to the ever-present risks in the world of investment.

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