Blog by Bill Singer, Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

November 18, 2017

RIP Malcolm Young of AC/DC

Clever Stipulation In FINRA Expungement Arbitration

Before you initiate a FINRA expungement arbitration based upon alleged defamation, carefully -- and I mean very, very carefully -- consider that you may presently retain some ability to control your narrative of the underlying events. Even with your former firm's alleged defamatory commentary on CRD, on your U5, and on BrokerCheck, a former associated person often retains some flexibility to dispute or disagree with the posted remarks during job interviews. Admittedly, when the posted allegations are serious, a purported victim may have no choice other than to sue or leave the industry. As such, sometimes you may have the option to just get on with your life and other times, the only option is to hire a lawyer and sue the bastards. Just give that threshold issue a lot of thought.

If you pursue an expungement arbitration and lose, your ability to "spin" the events may be severely damaged if not destroyed because you now have to deal with a published, online FINRA Arbitration Decision, which may be viewed as finding you dishonest, a liar, an incompetent, and/or a rule breaker. Also, a losing expungement Claimant has insult added to injury by way of a lawyer's fees and the forum costs. READ

Voluntary Resignation, Diversion Of Customer Funds, And FINRA Bar

In a recent FINRA Acceptance, Waiver & Consent ("AWC") regulatory settlement, a registered person is barred after voluntarily resigning . If you read the published AWC, you come away with the sense that the respondent quit his job amid some nebulous allegations that he had diverted customer funds. On top of that, you find out that the respondent was barred because he refused to cooperate in the regulator's investigation. By the time you've digested this AWC,you pretty much figure that it's not much about anything other than some guy who didn't want to be bothered answering FINRA's annoying questions. Not quite! READ

Many laws, rules, and regulations were apparently drafted by folks with a warped sense of humor and a penchant for irony. I say that because much of what guides our conduct on Wall Street comes down to sternly worded proscriptions against engaging in conduct that is wrongful, improper, unfair, or unreasonable -- which is all well and fine except when you believe with every fiber in your body that your conduct was right, proper, fair, or reasonable. All of which is exacerbated by the the reality that those with influence and money who do what you did get a pass while you're being charged and prosecuted. A recent Financial Industry Regulatory Authority regulatory settlement challenges us on many levels. First, we're not quite sure what the self-regulatory-organization is implying or what we should infer given the holes in the fact pattern. Second, assuming that respondent did what we think he did, FINRA appears to have jammed a size 10 foot into a size 8 shoe in order to make the underlying conduct fall under one of its rules. READ

Merrill Lynch Employee Fined And Suspended For Business Meals By FINRA

Here we go again. FINRA, that staunch protector of Wall Street's honor and integrity, has fined and suspended an individual for submitting multiple bogus business meal expenses for reimbursement. Horror of horrors! When will this misconduct stop? When will Wall Street emerge from the shadows of such deception and fraud? Thankfully, we can all sleep better at night knowing that the securities industry's self-regulator is scrutinizing meal receipts, checking out the size of tips, and making sure that no one is ordering the truffles with that $75 supplement. Blog's publisher Bill Singer wonders why these FINRA business expense cases seem to involve a low-level sales assistant or stockbroker but, you know, never quite seem to address expense abuses in the C-SuiteREAD

California Denies Expungement Of NASD And Ohio Regulatory Disclosures

In today's Blog, publisher Bill Singer, Esq. attempts to tackle a recent California case in which a former NASD-registered stockbroker sought the expungement of language from his BrokerCheck file.  It's a fascinating case because FINRA didn't exist and BrokerCheck didn't exist when the stockbroker left the industry. The Plaintiff feels aggrieved by FINRA's posting on its BrokerCheck website of his alleged regulatory history and asked the court to expunge it. 

Although the fact pattern presented a fascinating lawsuit, unfortunately, the outcome reminds Bill Singer of those frustrating times when he goes down to the gym to lose weight, spends an hour on the treadmill, spends an hour lifting weights, comes back home, gets on the scale, and hasn't lost a single pound -- which then sends him into the kitchen for a box of Oreo cookies to be washed down by a pint of ice cream and, of course, a bag of potato chips to cut down on the sweetness. READ