Ty Cobb's career batting average was .3664 and Rogers Hornsby's was .3585. Those are the two best career averages in the history of major league baseball. All of which means that if you get a hit about three times for every ten plate appearances, you're likely an All-Star and maybe headed for the Hall of Fame. Not everything in life, however, equates to baseball. If only a third of a surgeon's patients survive, that doctor ain't no all-star or future hall-of-famer. Lawyers -- well, that's an interesting scenario. Prosecutors should probably win over 90% of their cases because they are supposed to have probable cause before filing charges. Defense lawyers, on the other hand, well those folks tend to represent a large percentage of guilty folks; and sometimes the best you can do is reduce a death sentence to life, a life sentence to 20 years, a 20-year sentence to 5 years, and possession of a truckload of cocaine to possession of narcotics paraphernalia (the coke spoon around your neck). Like I said, you got baseball and you got life. In a recent FINRA expungement case, the Claimant stockbroker batted 500. You be the judge as to how well he did.
Case In Point
In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in September 2017, registered representative Claimant Weir sought $1 in compensatory damages and the expungement from his Central Registration Depository records ("CRD") of what the FINRA Arbitration Decision refers to as Occurrence Numbers 1329213 and 1505871. In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Erik Christopher Weir, Claimant, vs. First Allied Securities, Inc.,Respondents (FINRA Arbitration 17-02468, May 16, 2018).
Respondent First Allied Securities did not oppose Claimant's requested for an expungment.
Although notified of the expungement hearing, the customer in occurrence 1329213 did not participate in the hearing and did not oppose the requested expungement. The customers in occurrence 1505871 are deceased.
The Sole FINRA Arbitrator recommended the expungement of Occurrence Number 1329213 from Claimant's CRD pursuant to a Rule 2080 finding that the claim, allegation, or information is factually impossible or clearly erroneous; and false. The Arbitrator offered this rationale:
The customer was an elderly client who forgot that she had withdrawn money from her account. When her attorney was shown the account withdrawal records, the customer did not further pursue her complaint.
The Arbitrator denied the expungement of occurrence 1505871 but did not offer any rationale.
Bill Singer's Comment
Online FINRA BrokerCheck records as of May 23, 2018, disclose that Weir has been registered with six FINRA member firms since 1989; and he was registered with First Allied Securities from 2005 to 2010. As detailed below, Weir's BrokerCheck records disclose only two customer disputes filed against First Allied Securities.
2011 Settled FINRA Arbitration
Under the BrokerCheck heading of "Customer Dispute - Settled" are two items of which one involves a 2010 FINRA arbitration case against First Allied Securities seeking $500,000 in damages based upon allegations of negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment. First Allied Securities settled the matter for $170,000 in January 2011 without any contribution from Weir.
2006 Customer Complaint
Under the BrokerCheck heading "Customer Dispute - Closed-No Action / Withdrawn / Dismissed / Denied" are two items of which one involved a 2006 customer complaint against First Allied Securities seeking $60,000 based upon allegations that:
THE CUSTOMER, WHO MAINTAINED DISCRETIONARY ACCOUNTS WITH THE INVESTMENT ADVISOR AND WHOSE ACCOUNT RECORDS SEEM TO SHOW THAT SHE HAS MORE THAN LIMITED RESOURCES, ALLEGES SHE SUFFERED SUBSTANCIAL [sic] LOSSES IN ACCOUNTS AND SIGNIFICANT COMMISSIONS TO THE FINANCIAL CONSULTANT AS A RESULT OF INAPPROPRIATE AND UNAUTHORIZED TRADING OF A SENIOR'S ACCOUNT WITH LIMITED OR NO INCOME.
Weir submitted a statement in response to his firm's above disclosure that asserts that:
THE CUSTOMER ACCOUNT IN QUESTION WAS A DISCRETIONARY ACCOUNT SO THE ALLEGATION OF UNAUTHORIZED TRADING IS MISPLACED, AND THE ACCOUNT RECORDS INDICATE THAT (CUSTOMER) HAS MORE THAN LIMITED RESOURCES, CONTRARY TO THE ALLEGATIONS.
A Process of Elimination
There are only two disclosures involving customer complaints against First Allied Securities that appear on Weir's BrokerCheck file and, as such, I am inferring that these are the two occurrences for which he sought expungement. Notwithstanding that process of elimination, the inference may be wrong and the premise in error. At best, I'm guessing.
Given the reference to "she" in the 2006 event cited above, I am inferring that this item is what the FINRA Arbitration Decision refers to as occurrence 1329213 because the FINRA Arbitrator stated that the underlying matter involved an "elderly client who forgot that she had withdrawn money from her account" [emphasis supplied]. Moreover, when referencing occurrence 1505871, the Arbitrator noted that the customers (plural) are deceased. Piling on the inferences, it appears that the 2011 settled FINRA arbitration is occurrence 1505871.
You end the baseball season with a 500 batting average, you go down in history as the greatest hitter in the game. You hit one of two expungment requests out of the FINRA ballpark but strike out on your second appearance and, well, you're still doing great as a batter but maybe not so much as a registered representative. Ultimately, Weir got his hacks in and eliminated what looks like a 13-year-old disclosure from his record. That matter is going, going . . . gone! As to the 2011 settled arbitration, well, you know, it was there before he started his arbitration and it's there after his arbitration -- at least he gave it a shot. Weir can think about everything as he takes that long walk back to the dugout after striking out for his second appearance.