December 6, 2014

Last week, Rock'N Roll lost a giant: the great saxophonist Bobby Keys died.  I am a huge Rolling Stones fan and it would be nearly impossible to imagine that band's growth from Let It Bleed (1969) to Sticky Fingers (1971) to Exile On Main Street (1972) without the wailing sax of Keys.  Although I enjoy many cuts on which Keys played, I think that my favorite was "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" from Sticky Fingers in which he literally takes over the tune, seemingly pulling it in another direction and introducing a memorable riff, which starts about 3 minutes into the song.

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This epic battle by a defendant/respondent against the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") ends as many of these combats do -- with the SEC triumphant and, more to the point, apparently with good reason to take a victory lap. For those Wall Street professionals who seek to learn lessons from these cases, however, there is an interesting lesson (in the form of a not-so obvious warning) that is buried among the many bodies left on the field. READ

It would seem a fairly basic principle: A broker-dealer CCO should not allow the firm's suspended FINOP to work as . . . well, you know . . . as the firm's FINOP. I think that we all will agree to file that one under a big "DUH." On the other hand, what would compliance officers, regulators, and industry attorneys do for a living but for the fact that so many of Wall Street's "duhs" often seem an elusive concept for so many of the industry's men and women. Consider this recent settlement involving a CCO, FINOP, and an expelled FINRA member firm. READ

It's that time of the year when your grandparents start clicking around online and you start getting those phone calls about how their computer is frozen.  Sometimes grandpa isn't telling grandma that he's surfing some porn sites and, oh my, he downloaded a virus. Sometimes grandma isn't telling grandpa that she found a new site that's offering 100% discounts plus an extra 20% if she orders now -- and you soon discover that she gave some fraudster her bank and securities accounts numbers and her social security number.  Of course, it doesn't require the naivete of a senior citizen to run afoul of all sorts of online scams and frauds, more than enough youngsters fall prey to those lurking behind phony websites. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division recently issued a superb Public Service Announcement warning online shoppers about the holiday season's Internet dangers. reprints that PSA in full text  below. READ

Lately, the headlines have been filled with stories about demonstrations and strikes over what constitutes a minimum or living wage.  On Wall Street, in contrast, there have long been stories about jaw-dropping bonuses and salaries.  What happens when one enterprising registered representative conflates the two issues? READ