Rep Can't Find His Way Home With Profanity Score

December 14, 2018

On stage is a lonely registered representative who doesn't appear to have done anything wrong. It's pretty much a Compliance Department screw-up and he's the victim. Our victimized rep likely figured that his firm would own up to its error and clear his industry record of some undeserved negative comments. Oddly, the firm sort of agrees that it was all a mistake -- a misunderstanding. In part, the problem was caused by a profanity score. Yeah, a profanity score! Then there's the mistake about a mistaken name and the mistaken characterization of a customer complaint. Unfortunately, from that point, the firm seems to have done little more than shrug. Come down off your Compliance throne, he says. Somebody must change. You are the reason I've been waiting so long. You hold the key. No matter how frequently the rep sings that refrain, no one budges and nothing gets done. Eventually, he gets angry and says, I just ain't got the time. I'm wasted. I can't find my way home or to Compliance or to FINRA. As the chorus swells, we find ourselves at a FINRA expungement arbitration.

Case In Point


In the Matter of the FINRA Arbitration Between Richard Anthony Brewster, Claimant, vs. Casimir Capital L.P., Respondent (FINRA Arbitration 18-02139, December 6, 2018). In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Arbitration Statement of Claim filed in July 2018, associated person Brewster sought the expungement of alleged customer complaints (referenced as Occurrences 1304995, 1304179 and 1304997) from his Central Registration Depository records ("CRD").

Respondent Casimir Capital L.P. did not participate in the expungement hearing, and did not contest the request for expungement. 

Claimant Brewster notified the customers of the expungement request and of their right to participate and testify at the expungement hearing. The customers did not respond to his notice. 

Expungement

The FINRA Arbitration Panel recommended the expungement of all three customer occurrences from Claimant Brewster's CRD. The Panel made a FINRA Rule 2080 finding that the three customers' claims, allegations, or information are factually impossible or clearly erroneous, and false. The Panel offered the following rationale for each Occurrence:

1304995

The incident occurred as a result of the Compliance Officer using a computer program, which flagged certain profanity by the customer. The profanity resulted in a high score on the computer program, which the novice Chief Compliance Officer categorized as a customer complaint and reported on Claimant's Form U4. 

The customer subsequently provided a written statement to the broker dealer indicating that his use of profanity was not a customer complaint or allegation of any sort against the Claimant nor was it in any way intended to negatively impact Claimant. The customer also stated the account was being handled appropriately and was in good standing. The Claimant continues to service the customer's account. No further complaints or allegations have been made against the Claimant. 

1304179 

A Sales Assistant sent a confirmation email to the customer regarding the purchase and sales of securities, and used the name of a different broker. The customer called and stated that he had never spoken to the broker and, without investigation; the Compliance Officer incorrectly categorized the incident as a written complaint of an unauthorized sales transaction. After being informed of the incident, Claimant called the customer who confirmed that the transactions were in fact authorized; however, the Compliance Officer told Claimant it was too late to remove it, since he had already logged it as a written complaint. The firm has acknowledged the occurrence as "without merit". The Claimant continues to service the customer's account. No further complaints or allegations have been made against the Claimant. 

1304997

The customer was sent a confirmation email regarding the purchase and sale of securities, and the Sales Assistant who prepared the email included a different registered representative that the customer did not know. When the customer told the Respondent that he had not spoken with the other representative, the Compliance Officer incorrectly categorized the incident as a written complaint involving an unauthorized transaction. The documentary evidence shows that the complaint was filed in error, because of the clerical error. No further complaints or allegations have been made against the Claimant. 

Fees 

FINRA charged Respondent Casimir Capital a $1,900 Member Surcharge and a $3,750 Member Process Fee. Additionally, the Panel assessed Claimant Brewster a $1,575 initial claim filing fee and $1,125 in hearing session fees. 

Bill Singer's Comment

First and foremost, are you sh!tting me? The Panel hit Brewster with a $1,575 initial claim filing fee and $1,125 in hearing session fees. You're making this victimized rep pay just shy of $3,000? For what? Because a novice compliance officer employed by his employer firm made errors? Why the fu@k didn't the Panel charge Casimir for those fees? And, puhlease, score my profanity on your computer and shove it!!

I'm still working my way through: 

[T]he Compliance Officer using a computer program, which flagged certain profanity by the customer. The profanity resulted in a high score on the computer program, which the novice Chief Compliance Officer categorized as a customer complaint and reported on Claimant's Form U4. 

Profanity score? Omigod, seriously? Someone actually created a computer program that scores profanity? Wow . . . ain't science amazin'?  I'm sure that in the not too f#@king future, that some a**hole will come up with the idea of a Chief Profanity Officer (the "CPO"), and that motherf#@ker will earn six figures a year and have at least a Master's degree in English.

Also, imagine the lucky computer programmer who got the call to design a program that flags certain customer profanity and then assigns a score to said certain profanity, which can then get placed into such categories as a "Customer Complaint." Must have been fun debugging that f#@ker. I'm also wondering what the passing -- or is that failing -- score is that renders a number of certain profanities by a customer as a Customer Complaint.  Would love to have sat in on that Friday office meeting where they first drew up the list of curse-words and then assigned points to them.

I'm also wondering what m@therf#@king a$$hole in compliance decided that the mistaken name used by a sales assistant required a customer's query to be reported as "written Complaint of an unauthorized sales transaction."  Then imagine that the same bulls#!t happens a second time, producing a second disclosable customer complaint. Then imagine that Brewster politely asks "what the f#ck?" and compliance warns him that he is raising his profanity score. 

No matter how many times Brewster asked -- no matter how nicely -- they just kept telling him that it was all an unfortunate error but as far as FINRA is concerned, the reported complaints are a done deal. It's not you. It's us. We own up to that but even though it's us and not you, you're going to have to live with it or pay the price to fix it. Sorry but we can't do anything. We're not budging. You're just going to have to be patient. 

You can sort of hear Brewster singing that refrain to the good folks at Casimir Capital:

You are the reason I've been waiting so long.
Somebody holds the key.
But I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home.


The Original: Blind Faith, Hyde Park, London 1969
Steve Winwood
Eric Clapton
Ric Grech
Ginger Baker


Steve Winwood
Eric Clapton 
Derek Trucks 
Doyle Bramhall
at the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 


Vocals: Rachael Price
Acoustic Guitar: Chris Eldridge
Fiddle: Brittany Haas
Bass: Mike Elizondo
Electric Guitar: Chris Bruce
Drums: Ted Poor