June 29, 2019
I'm tired. I'm tired of studies. I'm tired of special reports. I'm tired of awards. I'm tired of prizes. I'm tired of endowments. I'm tired of foundations. I'm tired of initiatives. I'm tired of pilot projects. I'm tired of mission statements. I'm tired of committees and subcommittees. I'm tired of panels and advisory boards. I'm tired of blue-ribbon experts preparing white papers. I'm tired of updates about proposals and listening tours. Which leads me to the object of my jeremiad today: the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.
Libra is based on a cryptographically secure ledger that anyone can access but only Libra founders can validate. Unlike bitcoin "miners" moved by mere greed, Libra's founders have skin in the game. And their stake, Libra's reserve fund, pegs Libra's value to real money and not the madness of the crowd. In effect, Libra's designers are telling us that you can't build a currency on the crypto-anarchy that is bitcoin.By that measure, Bitcoin is not the future of money. It is only the great pretender.
The ex-wife alleges that FINRA member firm Edward Jones wrongfully disbursed funds to her ex-husband. What follows is a list of things that the wife alleges Edward Jones should have done but didn't, or, did do but shouldn't have. Add into that mix a demand for $5 million in damages and we've set the stage for some fireworks. Boy, does the sky light up with litigation pyrotechnics!
Today's blog features a sad and disturbing case in which an elderly Morgan Stanley customer appears to have been the victim of elder abuse. In a protracted and heated dispute, her estate seeks recompense from the brokerage firm and stockbroker. As the facts develop, however, the case proves to be nuanced and complicated. We have to consider the role of a convicted felon who preyed upon the elderly woman. We have to ask whether the brokerage firm and broker were also victims of a pernicious fraud -- or did they owe a duty of care to their elderly client and simply failed to do what was reasonable to protect her? In the end, two courts latch on to the Arbitration Chair's failure to disclose a conflict and the FINRA Arbitration Panel's unreasonable denial of a postponement. As with many things in life and litigation, it's all like a traffic accident that's ugly but you just can't seem to not look as you drive by.
In FINRA arbitration practice, you got a rule laying out the minimal content to be disclosed in an intra-industry or a public customer FINRA Arbitration Decision. Then you got a rule that provides for an optional "rationale." Thereafter, FINRA's Arbitration Code has a rule about a so-called Explained Decision. If all parties ask for an Explained Decision, then the Chair is supposed to write one (and there's even an extra $400 honorarium tossed in for the effort). So, how the hell do we get a FINRA Explained Decision when no party asked for one? Simple. You listen to Humpty Dumpty.