Ronak V. Patel
Shareholder; Co-Chair, Securities Litigation & Enforcement
Ronak Patel is Co-Chair of Winstead’s Securities Litigation & Enforcement Practice Group. He focuses on a wide range of securities regulatory and litigation matters. He is an experienced litigation attorney who possesses extensive regulatory experience with securities regulatory agencies across the U.S.
Before establishing his private practice, Ronak served as Deputy Securities Commissioner of Texas. He held numerous leadership positions with the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), working very closely with state and federal securities regulators across the country. As a regulator, he led the prosecution of a number of high profile investigations involving matters such as the 2008 failure of the auction rate securities market, Ponzi schemes, broker misconduct and complex investment products. Patel now draws on that experience to navigate broker-dealers and investment advisers through complex regulatory investigation, enforcement actions, and litigation involving allegations such as failures to supervise, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Patel practices before the Texas State Securities Board, the Massachusetts Securities Division, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and many other state securities regulators as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).He represents broker-dealers, investment advisers, hedge funds and other private funds, public companies, asset managers, gate-keepers, and other institutions in government investigations, securities law enforcement matters and related litigation.
- Representation of broker-dealers, investment advisers, fund managers, and individuals during all stages of investigations and litigation initiated by state securities regulators across the country, including, among others, the Texas State Securities Board, Massachusetts Securities Division, Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR).
- Representation in connection with investigations by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and FINRA.
- Represent broker-dealers and investment advisers during inspections and examinations by state securities regulators, SEC, and FINRA.Advise on examination practices and offer mock audit support to broker-dealer, registered investment advisers (RIAs), and private fund managers.
- Advise BDs, IAs, private fund managers on navigating registration requirements and exemptions from registration, including exempt reporting adviser (ERA) exemption.
- Counsel issuer and issuer counsel on private offering exemptions under federal securities laws and state securities laws (“Blue Sky” laws).
- Representation of broker-dealer in adjudicatory proceeding after Massachusetts Securities Division filed a complaint alleging that the broker-dealer failed to supervise sales activity by two representatives as well as alleging that the broker-dealer charged unreasonable account fees without proper disclosure of the fees. (Admitted pro hac vice.)
- Representation of a registered investment adviser firm during SEC investigation involving allegations of undisclosed conflicts of interest and breach of fiduciary duties.
- Representation of broker-dealer in investigation by Virginia Division of Securities focused on suitability and firm’s supervision of recommendations in gold/precious metal investments.
- Representation of broker-dealer in connection with Massachusetts Securities Division investigation and enforcement action involving the use of “sales contests.”
- Lead counsel for venture capital fund manager (VC fund) during SEC investigation related to potential conflicts of interest associated with portfolio companies as well as conflicts disclosure.
- Representation of a financial adviser during investigation by FINRA involving concerns about a failure to adhere to firm policies and FINRA rules and potential misrepresentations to FINRA and the employing firm.
- Advised a broker-dealer and numerous representatives during investigation by Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) focused on whether the representatives’ activity required registration as investment adviser representatives (IARs) with the State of Florida.
- Primary securities regulatory counsel for broker-dealer focused on real estate private equity. In addition to advice on FINRA and SEC matters, routinely advise the broker-dealer on private placement matters, broker-dealer registration requirements and exemptions, investment adviser registration and exemption issues, and review and revisions of written supervisory procedures.
- Successfully represented unregistered financial professional through investigation by Texas State Securities Board involving allegations of unregistered sale of securities and public solicitation of private placements.
- Counsel for an institution in matter with the Missouri Securities Division involving approximately 30 firms associated with the institution. Successfully obtained relief for all parties without formal action by the state.
Select Matters as Securities Regulator
- Led complex investigation and litigation related to major Wall Street firms related to the auction rate securities (ARS) market. Key participant in global settlement negotiations with multiple financial institutions resulting in approximately $50 billion in equitable relief to investors.
- Headed a multi-state investigation and settlement related to a multi-million dollar market manipulation and fraudulent conduct by an issuer and the role of a broker-dealer in aiding-and-abetting the issuer’s conduct.
- Led complex investigation of Texas based investment adviser running a $50 million fraud scheme involving real estate limited partnerships. Lead attorney for administrative action and criminal referral to U.S. Attorney.
- Leadership role in a national task force investigating sales and supervision practices related to the sale of non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
- Investigated a national brokerage firm’s supervisory systems and controls as a result of a broker “selling away” $5.5 million in investments.