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Mark D. Griffin

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Mark Griffin represents a wide range of financial institutions and individuals in securities fraud and professional liability matters in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitrations before FINRA and AAA.

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Understanding and Applying the CFP Board's New Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct November 20, 2019
How to Prepare for the SEC's New Standards of Conduct Rulemaking Package August 28, 2019

Featured Experience

Represented broker-dealer firm and its executive officers in FINRA arbitration involving $10,000,000 in claims for alleged breach of joint venture agreement, misrepresentation, and negligence in connection with firm's purchase and operation of mortgage-backed trading division. After two weeks of evidentiary hearings, the arbitration panel issued an award dismissing all claims against our clients.

Successfully represented SEC registered investment adviser in state court litigation filed by institutional customer arising out of recommendations to purchase securities issued by pooled trust preferred CDOs. Summary judgment award in client's favor was upheld on appeal. 

Successfully represented securities firm and its financial advisor in state court litigation filed by special needs Trust on behalf of tragically injured minor child involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, and mismanagement. Obtained a favorable ruling from the Tennessee Supreme Court that Tennessee's Trust Code and broad trust instruments authorize a Trustee's execution of a pre-dispute arbitration clause.

Professional Biography

Overview

Mark also represents clients in formal and informal regulatory matters and in inquiries, investigations, and enforcement proceedings by securities regulators and regulatory organizations, including the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).

Based in the Memphis office, Mark is chair of the Firm's Securities and Investment Management Group, and devotes a substantial portion of his professional time to representing financial institutions—including national and regional broker-dealers, investment advisory firms, banks, depository institutions, bank dealers, municipal securities dealers, and municipal advisors—and their officers, directors, and representatives in (1) state and federal court litigation as well as arbitration proceedings before FINRA and the AAA; (2) inquiries, investigations, and enforcement proceedings by the SEC, FINRA, MSRB, FDIC, state securities commissioners, and other regulatory bodies; and (3) employment related disputes, including "raiding" claims, theft of trade secrets and injunctive proceedings in unfair competition and employee transition cases. 

Mark also has substantial experience in counselling firms and individuals in internal investigations and with compliance and regulatory matters relative to the securities and financial services industries. 

Representative Matters
  • Represented broker-dealer firm and its executive officers in FINRA arbitration involving $10,000,000 in claims for alleged breach of joint venture agreement, misrepresentation, and negligence in connection with firm's purchase and operation of mortgage-backed trading division. After two weeks of evidentiary hearings, the arbitration panel issued an award dismissing all claims against our clients.

  • Successfully represented SEC registered investment adviser in state court litigation filed by institutional customer arising out of recommendations to purchase securities issued by pooled trust preferred CDOs. Summary judgment award in client's favor was upheld on appeal. 

  • Successfully represented securities firm and its financial advisor in state court litigation filed by special needs Trust on behalf of tragically injured minor child involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, and mismanagement. Obtained a favorable ruling from the Tennessee Supreme Court that Tennessee's Trust Code and broad trust instruments authorize a Trustee's execution of a pre-dispute arbitration clause.

  • Successfully represented broker-dealer firm and its registered representatives in FINRA arbitration involving conservation easements and claims of unsuitability, fraud, misrepresentation, and negligence.

  • Represented public company and officers in SEC Enforcement Action, which resulted in a favorable settlement with no monetary penalty to clients.

  • Represented national banking association, its capital markets division, and its affiliated broker-dealer in FDIC, SEC and FINRA inquiries regarding sales of CDO securities.

  • Represented broker-dealers and bank dealers in connection with SEC’s Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative.

  • Defended broker-dealer and registered representatives in FINRA arbitrations initiated by individual customers alleging securities fraud, misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with oil & gas investments and master limited partnerships.

  • Secured dismissal of fraud claims filed against capital markets division of national banking institution arising out of plaintiffs' purchases of interest rate swaps to hedge interest rate risk on bonds issued to finance commercial real estate projects.

  • Represented broker-dealer firm and its registered representative in FINRA arbitration involving institutional customer's claims of securities fraud, common law fraud, misrepresentation, suitability and failure to supervise in connection with customer's purchase of CDO mezzanine notes. After evidentiary hearing, the arbitration panel issued an award dismissing all claims against our clients.
  • Successfully defended CPA in case involving claims of professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Represented broker-dealer firm and its registered representative in FINRA arbitration involving institutional customer's claims of fraud, suitability and failure to supervise in connection with customer's purchase of auction rate securities. After evidentiary hearing, the arbitration panel issued an award dismissing all claims against our clients and recommending expungement of the matter from clients' CRD records.
  • Represented broker-dealer firm and registered representative in FINRA arbitration involving retail customer's claims of fraud, misrepresentation, suitability and failure to supervise in connection with customer's purchase of variable annuity product. After hearing testimony and considering evidence from all parties, the arbitration panel issued an award dismissing all claims against our clients.

  • Represented national banking association and its capital markets division and affiliated broker-dealer in federal court action involving claims of securities fraud, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and commercial bribery by trustee of bankrupt investment advisory firm. The claims were made in connection with the investment advisory firm's purchase of CDO notes and reverse repo transactions.

  • Secured summary judgment award in favor of broker-dealer firm on claims of fraud, breach of contract and tortious interference by national structured settlement consulting firm.
  • Secured $4 million settlement for broker-dealer firm in an unfair competition case, where former employees attempted to misappropriate and use broker-dealer's trade secrets and confidential business information in a competitive start-up company.

  • Frequent representation of broker-dealers and registered investment advisers in litigation and in arbitrations involving claims of unsuitability, unauthorized trading, misrepresentation, churning, failure to supervise, and breach of fiduciary duty.

  • Frequent representation of broker-dealer firms, registered investment advisers, registered representatives and third-party witnesses in responding to subpoenas, document requests from regulators, informal inquiries and formal investigations involving securities offerings, investment banking activities, alleged sales practice and supervisory violations, as well as compliance matters.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in Arbitration and Commercial Litigation, 2013 – 2020; Securities Litigation, 2018 – 2020
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2018 Memphis Securities Litigation "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Listed in Mid-South Rising Stars, 2008 – 2010
  • Member – Memphis, Tennessee and Mississippi Bar Associations
  • Member – Leo Bearman Sr. American Inn of Court, 2003 – 2004
  • Member – Phi Kappa Phi
Speaking Engagements

Awards

Education

  • University of Mississippi School of Law, J.D., 1995, with honors
  • University of Mississippi, B.A., 1992, with honors

Admissions

  • Tennessee, 1995
  • Mississippi, 1996

Mark really understands our business. I can give him the lay of the land and get good advice quickly. He knows the industry and the various issues. He's very accessible. I have his cell, home and office numbers and know I can reach him anytime.

President of a financial services company

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