BrokeAndBroker.com Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

July 3, 2015

On Sunday July 5th, Greeks will be going to the polls -- at least as of the writing of this column -- and voting whether to accept the terms of the proposed European bail-out. This is what is on the ballot:

Should the deal draft that was put forward by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund in the Eurogroup of June 25, 2015, and consists of two parts, that together form a unified proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled "Reforms for the Completion of the Current Program and Beyond" and the second "Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis."

A "NO" vote means the risk of losing the Euro; a "YES" vote means enduring the further pains of austerity.  There is the rock. There is the hard place. Greece is pressed between the two. If the Greek voters desired an anthem, I can think of no more apt song for this referendum than this:


What a mess and one long in the making. In the end, you have the Greeks in trouble; and you have much of Europe worried that the costs of bailing the Greeks out of their trouble will cause trouble for those countries that help.  All of which was so perfectly pointed out in this '60s classic:


Perhaps, looking back from the critical perch of history, we will wonder if this lofty vision of a European community with its Euro currency was a ship built to wreck -- which prompts another but final song for us to whistle through the graveyard of Greece and the Euro:



Offered for your consideration today in the BrokeAndBroker.com Blog is a thought piece. On one side, we have the goose: An individual human being convicted of FOREX-related fraud. On the other side, we have ganders: Five of the world's largest financial institutions that paid $3 billion in fines and penalties for rigging the FOREX market. You tell me -- did justice prevail here?  Was justice truly blind or did she take a peek from under her blindfold and sort of reach out for what looks more like a payoff than a settlement. READ


If you're going to promise a Wall Street regulator that you will fix a problem, you better make certain -- in fact, you better make damn certain --  that you fix whatever the problem is. Few things are more certain in life then a regulator doubling down on someone or something that it regulates when a promise is not kept. Consider this recent case where a firm agreed to enhance its protocol for notifying customers of wiring funds to third parties. READ


In "SEC Commissioner Gallagher Rages Against The Dying Light In Two Dissents" (BrokeAndBroker.com, June 18, 2015), I noted that:

After four years of service, Republican Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher announced in May 2015 that he will be leaving the SEC once a replacement is appointed. Commissioner Gallagher is not going quietly into that good night but, to the contrary, rages against his dying tenure light.  

In a recent published statement concerning his votes against two regulatory settlements by investment advisers Blackrock Advisors, LLC and SFX Financial Advisory Management Enterprises, Inc., Gallagher explains his concern about what he sees as dubious regulation through enforcement actions. His rationale for declining to support the settlements is largely premised upon his concerns for the consequences of holding Chief Compliance Officers accountable pursuant to what he considers an often inappropriate "strict liability" standard. . .

Alas, what would life be these days in these United States without tit for tat? In apparent response to Commissioner Gallagher's dissent, Commissioner Luis Aguilar (who is also retiring) parries his colleague's thrusts and ripostes with a few of his own shots. READ


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Law Professor FINRA NAC Member Files Defamation Complaint

On June 26, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") published an unusual and intriguing press release in which the self-regulatory organization that National Adjudicatory Council ("NAC") members and FINRA staff have been the target of a number of disparaging online attacks following a NAC decision confirming Bars imposed upon two individuals. One of the attacked individuals, law professor and NAC member Christopher Brummer has filed a lawsuit against an individual who is purportedly behind the allegedly defamatory website and the firms that own it. Plaintiff Blummer alleges three causes of action: Defamation Per Se, Defamation, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. FULL-TEXT Complaint Online at BrokeAndBroker.com  READ