Fudging a Failing Exam Grade Earns FINRA Fine and Suspension

August 12, 2011

Without admitting or denying the findings by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), Diana Y. Tao submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent ("AWC) for the purpose of settling alleged rule violations.   Tao was associated with FINRA member Chase Investment Services Corp. from April 2011 to May 2011, and also worked as a retail banker at JP Morgan Chase & Co.  Tao has no prior disciplinary history and has never been registered with any FINRA member firm.

On or about May 10, 2011, Tao took  and failed the Series 6 (Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative Qualifications Examination). According to the report from FINRA's Proctor Delivery System (the "Proctor's Report"), Respondent managed a score of only 51%.

Upward Revision

Okay, you might say, maybe she had test anxiety. No big deal. Study harder. Take it again. After all, a lot of folks fail Wall Street's various exams.

Unfortunately, Tao altered the Proctor's Report to reflect to a score of 69%.

I can sort of understand altering a failed grade to a passing one but 69% is still a failing grade - you need 70% to pass the exam.

Oddly, Tao then handed her upwardly revised Proctor's Report to her manager.  Maybe she was embarrassed. Maybe she figured she could save just a bit of face by claiming to have failed by only one lousy percentage point. Whatever the motivation, Tao's upward revision was deemed a violation of FINRA's rules and earned her a two-month suspension with any FINRA member and a $5,000 fine. In the Matter of Associated Person Diana Y. Tao, Respondent (AWC 2011027996201, August 8, 2011)

This violation is not as rare as you might think. For more examples, READ