I was wondering if simply having a Risk Disclaimer on my website is enough protection or if stock trading coaching students should be required to sign a contract with a risk disclaimer prior to receiving any coaching. And if this is required must they submit the signed online contract prior to paying for the coaching? Thanks!
It depends on what your coaching consists of. You may want to have them sign a disclaimer but that may not completely protect you if you give bad advice.
It sounds like a disclaimer would be a irrelevant. To do what you were doing, you probably need to be registered either as a broker-dealer, a financial advisor, or something else. Did someone tell you that you could avoid registration by calling what you do "coaching"? Anyway, a disclaimer does not suspend the operation of securities laws.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyze the question differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in New York and Florida.
You are playing with fire here, given the broad definition of investment advisers in the State of Florida. Even if you are not required to register with the SEC, you may well be subject to very onerous Florida regulations, which among other things require a fidelity bond. And if your clients are from places other than Florida, you're dealing with a whole different body of regulations that may or may not apply. Contact a securities attorney familiar with FL rules and regulations as soon as you can.
The foregoing is not legal advice nor is it in any manner whatsoever meant to create or impute an attorney/client relationship.
I am not sure I entirely agree with either of the 2 prior commentators. If all you are doing is providing a METHOD or SYSTEM for trading stocks and teaching folks how to use that system in a mechanical sort of way where no advice is being given on what particular securities to purchase and no monies are being paid to you other than tuition and the system lease price, then I believe it is not a regulated activity, at least not by the SEC or the state securities commissions: i.e. you are not acting as an issuer, an underwriter, a broker or an investment adviser.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this type of activity, then. But where people get into trouble is when they make grandiose promises about their system and training rubric (or more likely the user CLAIMS that such promises were made), breach of warranty claims may arise, express or implied, verbal or written. Absent fraud, virtually all states allow such warranties to be disclaimed. A "risk disclaimer" (I am sure I do not know what you mean by that terminology but it is clear that it is not an "agreement" and hence binds no one) however is not likely to do the trick. You ought to be getting them to agree to a "clickwrap" type arrangement at the time of payment. You can find examples all over the Internet such as the type of thing you have to click on to download software but each is carefully tailored to the unique aspects of the business at hand. That is it will not do to simply buy some form and fill in your name etc. Further, there are other protections you need and there are privacy and other considerations which protect the buyer of the services. There may be peculiarities unique to the law of some jurisdictions and not others. Also, you are providing educational services of a sort and there may be special requirements imposed by some states for that as well. In short, this is a specialized drafting task which should only be tackled by an experienced Internet or computer lawyer.Otherwise, it won't be worth the paper it isn't printed on. LOL.
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