by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

May 23, 2015

One, and only one, Securities and Exchange Commissioner got it right. To her ever-lasting credit and to the shame of her colleagues, Commissioner Kara Stein stood up for public investors and what's left of integrity in the financial services community. Please see my commentary at
I commend Commissioner Stein's majestic jeremiad to your consideration:

Yesterday, I tried to predict the future. A few hours before the United States Department of Justice announced its settlement with JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland ("RBS") and UBS over charges of having manipulated the foreign currency markets, I offered my take on what I thought was coming down the old regulatory and prosecution pike. Based upon the subsequent news conference and press releases, it seems that I was indeed plugged into the hidden mysteries of the Universe. Fact is, many of you have joked with me about how spot on I was. I am now working on the next winner of the Belmont Stakes.

I have little expectation that this current round of market regulation will produce anything more than the highly-touted billions of dollars in fines. Stripped of the fanfare and over-used admonitions, the federal regulators and prosecutors involved in this latest round of dealing with the too-big-to-fail and the too-big-to-do-anything-about accomplished little more than what I frequently refer to as "checkbook diplomacy."  READ

It is now 8:30 a.m. EDT on May 20, 2015 and I am posting Blog without much enthusiasm - I think the fancy French word for how I feel is "ennui." Look it up. It will make you feel cosmopolitan and sophisticated. Nothing like expanding your vocabulary on a Wednesday.

According to rumors running rampant in the media, we are all breathlessly awaiting an announcement, perhaps at 10 a.m., that the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") has settled its pending currency market rigging case with JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland ("RBS") and UBS.  Word has it that the five banks will be pleading guilty to criminal antitrust and fraud charges attendant to their manipulation of the foreign-exchange markets ("FOREX").

Well, at least some if not all of the banks will be pleading - alas, the vagaries of last-minute rumors. And, sure, the spin will likely be that it wasn't actually the banks that did this but a small group of renegade employees, who conspired sub rosa and unbeknownst to the higher-ups who actually ran the banks. Then there's that thing about the higher-ups because, you know, those higher-ups who were running things at the times cited by DOJ have largely moved on and out and there is a whole new cadre of higher-ups, untainted by this current scandal. I'm guessing (going out on a limb here) that the banks will argue we shouldn't blame a humongous international organization for the misdeeds of a few out-of-control traders who kept it all off the firms' state-of-the-art compliance radar screens. READ

The United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ("9Cir") affirmed the Central District of California's ("CDCA's") judgment in a class action brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by beneficiaries who alleged that their pension plan was managed imprudently and in a self-interested fashion. In rejecting a continuing violation theory, the 9Cir held that under ERISA's six-year statute of limitations, the CDCA correctly measured the timeliness of claims alleging imprudence in plan design from when the decision to include those investments in the plan was initially made. 

On appeal to the United States Supreme Court from the 9Cir is the question of:

Whether a claim that ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institution-class mutual funds were available, is barred by 29 U. S. C. §1113(1) when fiduciaries initially chose the higher-cost mutual funds as plan investments more than six years before the claim was filed.

Glenn Tibble Et Al., Petitioners,  v. Edison International, Et Al.(Opinion,United States Supreme Court, 575 U.S. ____ 2015, May 18, 2015)  

Now online at the FULL TEXT 9th Circuit Opinion, the FULL TEXT Supreme Court Opinion, and the written transcript and sound file for the oral argument. READ

There comes a point in a registered representative's career when it may simply be time to move on. For many reps who decide to relocate, the questions of what information and documents can you take and how can you take them, present challenging issues. If you handle things properly, the move from one firm to another may go smoothly; if you don't handle things properly, the experience can truly be replete with nasty-grams and lawsuits from your former firm and an uncomfortable regulatory investigation from FINRA. Consider a recent example of a change of jobs that didn't end well. READ