September 1, 2018
In any event Norbert or Habib, or, you know, whoever -- whomever -- I'm just going to go with Norbert because I've never known anyone by that name and it has a lovely ring to it. Norbert, you truly don't need to apologize for offering me this wonderful opportunity to obtain the
unclaimed millions that were abandoned at a reputable financial security institution by an unnamed deceased person. If you know the dearly departed, please send my condolences to his family -- and, sure, you have my permission to do so in a top secret fashion in keeping with the nature of your proposed transaction. As to that reputable financial security institution, excuse my hesitation, but after some 37 years working on Wall Street, I can't quite think of any financial institution that I would honestly call "reputable," but why quibble over an adjective when there's so much unclaimed money sitting around in the dead guy's account, he should only rest in peace but maybe not directly on my money. If you can, scooch him over just a bit, okay? Wash your hands afterwards.
Musk was a twit for tweeting out his half-baked idea in the first place, but that the investing public would buy close to $12 billion in Tesla stock on a tweet says more about us than about him. People bet on Tesla going private because Elon Musk thought about it out loud on Twitter. But people bet on lots of things for no good reason. Since Tesla is not actually going private, and Musk never said that it was, what stance should securities law take?
All that BrokeAndBroker.com Blog publisher Bill Singer wanted to do was go on a Labor Day vacation and publish a few puff pieces to hide his absence. But no, FINRA had to go out and work over a registered rep for his alleged violation of the regulator's Private Securities Transactions and Outside Business Activities rules. Bill doesn't like either of those rules -- at least as they are written. He thinks that they are too often speed traps on FINRA's regulatory highway. Bill ain't pulling no punches in today's slice-and-dice analysis.
There's poetic license and there's your driver's license. Of course, we all know folks who sort of take liberties at the MVA with facts such as whether they really, really, really need glasses to drive. We also know folks who may add just a teeny, tiny inch or so to their height when filling out the renewal form. Then there are those who simply aren't willing to go under the knife for plastic surgery and prefer to estimate the year of their birth. Not that it's a good thing to lie on your driver's license but, hell, it's not a good thing when they send you to the window under the green light to pay the fee and after about 20 minutes waiting on that line, the MVA employee closes the window for a break and sends you to the line behind the other green light where they won't take you next even though you were waiting for, what is now, like 30 minutes, and then they start in with the thing about lowering your voice, and then it's I'm done talking to you, and if you don't move away from my closed window, I'm calling security, to which, the guy waiting on line who is now red in the face and with trembling hands says to the security guard, yeah, go ahead, put your hands on me again and I'll show you what I'll do with that green light! But, okay, sure, let's not get into that whole MVA line-thing now because today's BrokeAndBroker.com Blog is about the consequences faced by a stockbroker who lied about her date of birth on her driver's license.
So . . . this guy calls me a few weeks ago and tells me this story about how he's been in the biz for a few decades and when the markets crashed for the Great Recession, he got two customer complaints, one was bull shit and his firm told the customer to shove it, the other case, well, you know, he hadn't done anything wrong but the firm settled it for peanuts, nuisance value they told him, and he was pissed off because he had not done jack wrong, and he was all set to fight it to the bloody end, and, when his employer said just go with the flow and move on, he said no way, and refused to pay one penny towards the few thousand in cash handed over in this extortion racket to the customer. We spent a couple of hours on the phone over a few calls and I got the details, which pretty much supported the guy's version of events -- plus, being the circumspect kind of fellow that I am, I poked around on my own and confirmed the "I really, really, really didn't do anything wrong but they settled one of the complaints anyway," tale of woe. I set out the costs for undertaking the filing of two expungement claims, detailed all the what-ifs, and gave my opinion that this unhappy stockbroker had a damn good shot at expunging the unsettled matter and a very good shot at clearing out the settled one too. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the battle-plan was whether to file an expungement for the unsettled matter first, at least get that mark quickly removed, and then, using the momentum so to speak, go back for a second expungement without having to deal with a "Yes" answer from the other matter (which, at that point, would have been expunged). I also presented the option of simply filing a two-for-one FINRA arbitration expungement claim wand saving some time and money. My preference was to opt for the two expungements in one application. A couple of weeks later, the stockbroker telephones me and says that he spoke to some guys in the office and they told him that you can't get a settled customer complaint expunged. No way that FINRA will ever do that, these geniuses opined. On top of that, if you have two -- count 'em -- two complaints, FINRA will never, ever expunge the settled one under such circumstances. In response, I summoned up my 36 years on Wall Street worth of savvy and experience and told the potential client that the idiots who told him that he couldn't get an expungement of a settled matter were, just that, idiots. Well they seemed to know what they were talking about, he replied. Are any of them lawyers, I asked. No but, again, they were positive that I would only be wasting my money. Sensing that this potential client had fallen asleep next to an idiot pod planted by one of the idiots near the office water cooler, I wished him well and simply got on with my life, having lost two hours of time that I will never recapture. Oh, and just for the hell of it, I hope that he reads today's BrokeAndBroker.com Blog about another stockbroker who didn't pay attention to the legal advice dispensed around the office water-cooler and now has two "YES" answers on their ways to two "NO" answers. The astute among you might note that one of the expunged matters was a denied customer complaint and the other was a settled customer complaint that became a FINRA Arbitration Statement of Claim. A settled arbitration complaint? Yeah, "settled," as in no way that FINRA will ever expunge any settled matter and all the more so when the expungement application is coupled with a second complaint.