Monday, January 12, 2009

Ever Been Screwed Over By Your Brokerage?

Those who have dealt extensively with online brokerages know that there is a lot of room for improvement. Brokerages make their fair share of mistakes, with little offered in the way of restitution. One man, however, didn't take his brokerage's lack of remorse lying down, and successfully sued it for delaying his trade!

Peter Phipps issued a buy order for 3000 shares of Research In Motion (RIMM) that did not execute until the following day. While his order was delayed, Phipps made numerous unsuccessful attempts to lift a block that was erroneously placed on his account. While the block was in place, RIMM stock increased by a couple of bucks, costing Phipps a few thousand dollars.

The judge ruled that the brokerage should have removed the block within 20 minutes, which in the judge's opinion is a reasonable time within which to act for a company where its clients can lose or gain thousands of dollars within a matter of minutes. The Bank Of Montreal was ordered to pay Phipps $4400, which recoups what he would have made if not for the delay which was over and above 20 minutes.

For those who have experienced similar issues, take heart in knowing that you may be able to pursue legal means to claim back losses if your brokerage messed up! For those interested in finding the full text of this case, it can likely be found in your local law library using the following header:

Phipps v. Bank of Montreal Nesbitt Burns (2005), M.J. O'Hara Adjud. (N.S. Small Cl. Ct.) [Nova Scotia]

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