If you're a stockbroker, you better make sure you understand the ins and outs of "away accounts." For starters, just because the account is not in your name doesn't mean that it won't be considered subject to FINRA's Away Account rules. Pointedly, FINRA focuses not so much on the name of the accountholder but on whether a registerd representative has any financial interest (direct or indirect) or any discretionary authority. In a recent regulatory settlement, a stockbroker learns that contrary to the Beatles' tune, you can't get a buy (or sell order) with a little help from a friend in an away account -- and FINRA and your employer may well stand up and walk out on you (or ask you to do the same).
In the event you're not familiar with the lyrics, I have embedded a very helpful video of the late, great Joe Cocker's live performance of "With A Little Help From My Friends," replete with a fascinating, real-time translation. Even if you think that you know the lyrics, trust me, you're going to want to watch this hysterical video: READ
The "selfies" phenomenon has now hit Wall Street regulation -- well, sort of. In today's BrokeAndBroker.com Blog, we have the intriguing case of a stockbroker who whipped out his smartphone and started taking screenshots of client information on his brokerage firm's computer screens. What's the big deal? Oh, trust me, it's a big deal and FINRA was right on top of this misconduct. READ
We live in a time when much is made about disparity -- from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Tale of Two Cities" to the frequent references to the gender and the wage gaps. On Wall Street, we have our own growing divide in which those that I have often called the "small fry" seem to be singled out for more aggressive investigation and regulation replete with resort to the nuclear-option of a Bar or Revocation. In contrast, the "big fish" attract little more than a wagging finger and slap on the wrist. Which is not to say that we don't see the imposition of staggering fines on the big fish . . . we do; however, the dollars typically come out of the pockets of defrauded investors or abused shareholders and not from the personal coffers of those in charge. Worse, there's virtually no resort to the the nuclear option when it comes to the too-big-to-fail. They don't get their license to operate revoked. We don't see them forced to close for days, weeks, or months. We don't see any restriction on their ability to expand. Consider a recent FINRA regulatory settlement involving a small fry, and compare it to two former FINRA settlements with the big fish. READ
The scheme of Wall Street regulation effectively consists of three levels: federal regulation via the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution and via the Securities and Exchange Commission for civil matters; state regulation; and self regulation. Although one would hope that such a three-pronged attack would prove effective, in reality, we have regulators building, maintaining, and protecting their "turf." An unfortunate byproduct of such competition is that investigations become duplicative, resolutions are delayed, and each regulator runs to take the first victory lap. As a recent regulatory settlements warns, we still waste limited regulatory resources by having different regulators pursue the same violations by the same respondent. READ