Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

June 25, 2016

This morning, we all awoke to the surprise news about a British institution. An American jury found that the rock group Led Zeppelin was not guilty of copyright infringement when they published "Stairway to Heaven." In response to that unexpected verdict, the world's stock markets are crashing. I may have some of the facts wrong but I'm pretty sure that this is that Brexit thing everyone is talking about. After all, there's a line in the song that goes:

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving

Gonna be lot's of crying spirits today over the Brits leaving the EU. Speaking of "Stairway to Heaven," there's that other line about:

In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving

Obviously, no one is going to give a crap about a Blog piece today about Wall Street regulation, so let's digress and consider a favorite story of mine about the misgivings of a singing songbird -- it may inspire you to get through the next few weeks of market volatility .  . . or not. READ

The Husband's IRA, The Ex-Wife, The Forgeries, The Withdrawals, And The Lawsuit 

Broken hearts are the stuff of great literature and music. Wives scorned. Husbands betrayed. The inspiration for many a page-turner and heart-rending ballad.  On the other hand, failed relationships are also the source of devious plots to get back or get even or get out of town. In a recent FINRA arbitration, an ex-wife apparently cleaned out her husband's IRA account. No easy task when you consider all the pages of new account forms the husband likely signed when he opened his account and thought that Wells Fargo had constructed a veritable fortress around his savings. Problem was, someone had dropped the drawbridge and drained the moat. READ

Wall Street is for gamblers, Baby Blue, and you better use your sense. Take what you have gathered from coincidence. You must leave now, take what you need, you think will last, but whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast. Sadly, it's all over now, Baby Blue. 

What the hell is Blog publisher Bill Singer talking about? What does any of this have to do with stockbrokers, customers, and outside business activities? Read today's article and enjoy the three music videos. READ

I call them the "Yeah Buts." Those are the explanations frequently offered by stockbrokers when first confronted with any number of allegations about their having engaged in industry misconduct: Yeah, Bill, I did that, but I didn't realize it was a violation and no customer was harmed. Few issues cause more Yeah Buts than when a stockbroker is accused of unauthorized discretion despite having gotten a prior, verbal okay from a client for the very trade at issue. Consider this recent FINRA regulatory settlement. READ Blog publisher Bill Singer frequently calls out Wall Street's regulators for their inconsistent approach to sanctioning the industry's big fish versus the small fry. Each time Bill points a wagging finger of disapproval, he is meticulous to note that he is not excusing or defending the cited misconduct but merely highlighting the disparate treatment. In choosing among lesser evils, we always need to keep in mind that either choice selects an evil. In today's blog, we consider FINRA's settlement with a lowly registered rep who wrongly inflated her customer sales in a misguided effort to qualify for sales incentives. By way of spoiler alert, she got fined and suspended. The question arises, however, as to why FINRA's larger member firms only seem to get fined for similar transgressions. READ