July 6, 2019
It's July 5th and there's nothing worth writing about involving the financial services community today because nothing has been published since July 3rd by any regulator or prosecutor. And those regulators and prosecutors who arrive at work this morning are likely going to take a bathroom break around 11ish and disappear. On top of that, let's not expect too much from all those civil servants who will be supposedly telecommuting to work today. As such, I'm taking a break today from my thankless job as Wall Street's gadfly and pain-in-the-ass. I was aimlessly surfing YouTube and came upon the title "Dire Straits - Sultans Of Swing - (Ukulele Solo Acoustic Cover) Overdriver." I like "Sultans of Swing" -- it's got a great guitar riff and what's not to like about Mark Knopfler or vintage Dire Straits? On the other hand: a ukulele version? Does the world actually need a ukulele version of "Sultans of Swing"? Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
Some argue that in order to achieve the equality promised by the Declaration of Independence, society should give out trump cards to even the disparate odds created by chance at birth. This so-called "luck egalitarianism" underlies much of the rhetoric of the new left, and is also its stumbling block. To equalize our cards means, inevitably, that the government will use brute force to make naturally better hands worse and inferior hands better. Both she from whom is taken and he to whom is given instinctively recoil from this. Take my aces, and I'll resent your tyrannical thievery. Give me someone else's aces and I'll resent your condescending paternalism. It's a no-win situation, which is a clue that we are thinking about it wrong.
Few Wall Street issues anger me more than when workplaces become toxic and management engages in tortious misconduct. The forced sale of a producer's book of business to a younger rep or to one of the guys or to the nephew of the new manager. The weaponization of regulatory filings to hamstring former employees and send a message to those left behind. FINRA is oh-so-quick to step in and assist its members' collection efforts of unpaid promissory note balances, or the debits arising from NSF checks or kited funds. In those cases, it's always about conduct inconsistent with just and equitable principles of trade. When the employees are the victims, however, FINRA's prism bends the light and its member firms' conduct just never seems to appear as "misconduct." FINRA the regulator is nowhere to be found when its members' workplace abuses devastate the lives of associated persons and their families. The substitute offered to the industry's victimized workers is FINRA the arbitration forum, which has nothing to do with regulation but everything to do with costly and protracted litigation.
This is not the Broke And Broker Blog. This is not an article in that blog. This is not an article about a FINRA Arbitration. This is not an article about the appeal of that FINRA Arbitration. This is not an article about the appeal of a court's order about the arbitration. This is not a pipe.