It's the continuing saga of continuing education ("CE") on Wall Street. Seems that we got a lot of busy men and women who, you know, have better things to do with their precious time than to study for and actually take the various CE examinations and course. If nothing else, the Street is a place of innovation and problem solving. All of which might explain why the industry's cops are busy chasing down folks who have found ways around personally satisfying their CE obligations.
Case In Point
For the purpose of proposing a settlement of rule violations alleged by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), without admitting or denying the findings, prior to a regulatory hearing, and without an adjudication of any issue, James Paul Kimmel Sr. submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC"), which FINRA accepted. In the Matter of James Paul Kimmel Sr., Respondent (AWC 2013036812201, June 22, 2014).
From 1968 to about April 2013, Kimmel was employed by an insurance affiliate of Nationwide Securities, LLC and first became registered in 1983. The AWC asserts that Kimmel had no prior relevant formal disciplinary history with the Securities and Exchange Commission, any self-regulatory organization or any state securities regulator.
Between approximately March 2009 and April 2012, the AWC alleges that on at least three occasions, Kimmel "permitted" the Office Manager of his insurance office, and an individual registered with Nationwide to complete his Firm Element Continuing Education ("CE") courses.
The AWC further alleges that in April 2012, Kimmel 'permitted" a non-registered employee to complete his State of Pennsylvania Long Term Care Insurance CE course.
FINRA deemed the above to constitute a violation of FINRA Rule 2010. In accordance with the terms of the AWC, FINRA imposed upon Kimmel a $5,000 fine and a 6-month suspension from association with any FINRA member in any and all capacities.
Bill Singer's Comment
According to online FINRA records as of May 29, 2014, Nationwide Securities, LLC "Discharged" Kimmel on April 30, 2013, based upon allegations that:
REGISTERED REPRESENTATIVE IS ALLEGED TO HAVE REQUESTED TWO INDIVIDUALS SEPARATELY COMPLETE A PORTION OF HIS FIRM ELEMENT CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENT AS WELL AS STATE INSURANCE PRODUCT TRAINING ON HIS BEHALF.
The FINRA online document further asserts that Kimmely admitted to the above allegations.
If I have one quibble with this AWC, it's that it comes off as overly charitable in characterizing the misconduct here as one in which Kimmel "permitted" three individuals to complete his CE courses. How nice. How charitable.
REGGIE: I would like to do you a favor and permit you to take this CE exam for me
REP: I'm not sure that I can accept that honor. I don't want to take advantage.
REGGIE: No, please
REP: I don't know. It doesn't seem fair for me to do this. How could I repay this kindness?
REGGIE: Seriously, let me permit you to take that exam for me. I'm happy to do this for you.
REP: You are too kind, are you sure that it's okay -- I don't want to take advantage of you.
REGGIE: No, you have my permission. Please take this exam for me.
REP: Really, you sure? Can I at least pay you something for this?
REGGIE: Absolutely not! I won't hear of it. You are permitted to take this exam for me and that's the end of the discussion. It's my pleasure . . .
I can think of many, many ways to characterize a FINRA enforcement effort alleging that a registered person did not personally take several CE courses, but I don't think that the word "permitted" would likely crop up in my report.