For over 30 years, in 24 states and over 700 proceedings, Mark J. Astarita has been representing clients as their securities lawyer in all aspects of securities markets. Mark is a partner in the national securities law firm of Sallah Astarita & Cox. Mark has 30-plus years of experience representing advisors and firms; his partners are former SEC Senior Enforcement Attorneys.
Financial Regulatory Matters
Since 1984 Mark has been assisting brokers and brokerage firms in their registration and securities compliance matters, including the startup of new broker-dealers. From incorporation through shareholder and employment agreements and throughout the registration process with the SEC and FINRA, Mark has assisted dozens of firms in their navigation of the web of securities rules and regulations. When firms need to expand their operations and require FINRA approval, he has guided them through the 1017 process, working closely with their in-house staff to obtain the necessary approvals.
As the regulatory environment has become more onerous and complex, Mark began encouraging and assisting brokers and financial professionals to become independent financial advisers, either through agreements with some of the nation’s top independent brokerage firms or through the creation of registered investment advisers or private investment partnerships. These alternate vehicles can vastly improve the business operations and overhead of a smaller financial firm while at the same time maintaining the quality of research, customer service, and investor protection of a large broker-dealer.
Regulatory Enforcement Matters
In addition to his work as a securities arbitration attorney, Mark represents investors, financial professionals and firms in regulatory investigations from the SEC, FINRA, state securities commissions, and the various commodity exchanges. Mr. Astarita is one of the few practicing attorneys to have passed the Series 7 Examination, the licensing examination for securities brokers. His years of experience in investigations and enforcement proceedings have enabled him to provide invaluable assistance to his clients, not only during the actual proceedings but in the development of a comprehensive strategy and plan for dealing with actual, and potential, enforcement proceedings.
Securities Employment Issues
During his career, Mark has represented over 60 brokerage firms and hundreds of financial professionals in their regulatory, litigation, and employment issues. His experience and knowledge of this highly specialized area of employment law enable him to provide guidance and assistance to firms and professionals in negotiating compensation packages and upfront loans, as well as severance agreements and promissory note settlements and restructuring, and non-compete waivers. He has negotiated broker compensation agreements for individuals with every major Wall Street firm. The use of upfront bonuses, or employee forgivable loans as inducements and compensation for a broker to change firms, has a series of issues, pitfalls, and dangers for the firm and for the broker. This experience, coupled with continual monitoring of legal decisions and trends, enables him to negotiate securities employment agreements for his clients effectively.
Securities Arbitration Proceedings
A significant portion of Mark’s practice is in the area of securities arbitration. For over 30 years he has been the attorney of record, representing customers, brokers, and brokerage firms in FINRA, NASD, and NYSE arbitrations in over 600 securities arbitrations. Mark prides himself on his dedication to his clients and his desire to champion their cause and position. He represents clients in matters across the country and has represented parties in proceedings held in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, California, Louisiana, Nebraska, Minnesota, Utah, and Oregon. Mr. Astarita has written extensively on the topic of customer arbitrations, and most of his articles appear on The Securities Law Home Page. His article, Introduction to Securities Arbitration, has been downloaded tens of thousands of times.
Securities Industry Knowledge
In July 1995, Mark created the Securities Law Home Page, now known simply as SECLaw.com, the Internet site for information regarding United States securities and commodities law, including corporate finance, public offerings, stock broker regulation, securities arbitration, and related topics. The site, which has been rated one of the Top 10 law firm websites available on the Internet, and consistently rated “Best of the Web” by every major survey, contains original articles and commentary of interest to participants in the United States financial markets, as well as attorneys and educators. The site receives over 6,000 unique visitors monthly, making it one of the world’s most popular legal topic sites.
Background and Related Information
Various media sources have relied upon Mark for commentary on issues relating to securities laws and online legal issues. He has been quoted in a number of publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, Forbes Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Law Journal, Ticker Magazine, Research Magazine, Registered Representative, On Wall Street, The Recorder, Legal Times, the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the Internet Compliance Reporter, Investment Dealers’ Digest, Compliance Reporter, Financial NetNews, Securities Industry Daily, the Bergen Record, and the New York Post.
Mark is often an invited speaker at industry functions, has been a regular guest on CNBC’s Power Lunch, was a member of the faculty for Practicing Law Institute’s Securities Arbitration Seminar, has been a guest lecturer at Pace University’s Securities Arbitration Clinic, and an invited speaker at the Connecticut Securities Division’s Securities Forum.
Mark is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey. Most securities arbitration and regulatory matters do not require admission in the state where the hearing occurs, and Mark has represented parties in 24 states. He can be reached at 212-509-6544 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His law firm is Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, with offices in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.