Guest Blogger Aegis Frumento takes a moment to recall famed litigator F. Lee Bailey, who died a couple of weeks ago. It was as a high schooler when Aegis first heard of Bailey; and it may have been Bailey who inspired him to become a lawyer (or perhaps its was Atticus Finch, Perry Mason, Clinton Judd or Owen Marshal). Frankly, it's been a long time since Aegis was in High School. Be that as it may, F. Lee Bailey was high drama personified.
When it comes to Wall Street's Big Fish, FINRA is oh-so cautious and oh-so solicitous before asserting that the firm has prior, relevant disciplinary history, But that same caution and that same solicitousness just doesn't arise for FINRA's smaller firms or the industry's hundreds of thousands of registered persons. Pointedly, when the charge of failed supervision raises its ugly head, it seems that if a Large Member Firm is involved, only that firm's name appears in FINRA's regulatory caption; but when that same violations occurs at smaller broker-dealers, we often seen the names of individual C-suiters, compliance staff, and supervisors tagged as Respondents.
Among the mysteries of the Universe is whether a revocation of a license is the same as a bar of a license. On top of that puzzler, if something happens but you didn't know about it at the time but you eventually learn about it, does that mean you had failed to timely report what you didn't know had happened but now do? Finally, we are asked to ponder the ethical and legal implications of whether the SEC should stay a determination by FINRA that someone has become statutorily disqualified after that same individual voluntarily reported the facts that prompted FINRA's determination.
Some say that FINRA stands all along the watchtower and protects the investing public from the oncoming hordes of Wall Street. Some say that FINRA is perched atop the castle walls, enjoying a smoke of a dubious substance, sippin' a glass of wine, and mesmerized by the sunset. Others say that FINRA had some other regulator punch in for them and blew off the whole standing on the bulwarks thing. In any event, today's blog features yet another example of FINRA discharging its role as the protector of the realm. We don't have raging hordes threatening to storm the castle. No, today's attackers are from the fearsome tribe of the Notaries. And as the joker said to the thief, there's too much confusion and I can't get no relief.