Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

July 9, 2016

Bill Singer Supports ROBERT MUH for 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor

A personal note from Bill Singer, Blog:

Robert A. Muh is running as a candidate for the 2016 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") Small Firm Governor seat on the self-regulatory organization's Board.  Bob is a far more temperate and contemplative advocate for FINRA small firms and industry reform than I, and, as such, we do not always agree on many issues. Notwithstanding our occasional disagreements, I have tremendous respect and admiration for Bob's intelligence and independence. Bob is committed to advancing the legitimate needs of smaller firms and has always stood up to speak out for industry reform.

Without reservation, I support Bob's candidacy for the 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor and urge all Blog readers to press their FINRA member firm's Executive Representative to support Bob's candidacy for the Board.

Bob's impressive background is set out on his nomination website

I recently posted "Support ROBERT MUH For FINRA Small Firm Governor" ( Blog, July 5, 2016), in which I set out the case for a more meaningful and representative role for the FINRA small firm community; urged the small firm membership to support qualified, sincere, and committed candidates for elective office at the self-regulatory authority; and expressed my support for Robert Muh's election as 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor. In response to the July 5th article, I received a letter from another candidate, Robert Keenan, who is seeking re-election as a 2016 FINRA Small Firm Governor. You can read the full-text of Robert Keenan's thoughtful reply on the Blog. READ

Today's Blog discusses an interesting FINRA arbitration pitting an unhappy corporate customer against the all-powerful Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. How unhappy is the customer? Howsabout to the tune of a $10 million claim. All of which begs the questions as to just what constitutes chicken feed and how big an egg can a dissolved corporation lay during one FINRA arbitration. READ

Because of the intervening July 4th holiday, you might have missed the recent announcement of a criminal case that sounds far too much like a real-life version of the 1968 film classic "The Producers." As explained in a June 28, 2016, press release from the United States Department of Justice, we got what looks like three, count 'em, three, Max Bialystocks, allegedly involved in a $12 million fleecing of investors in feature films and documentaries. Among my favorite tidbits of purported misdeeds was the bank account showing a $1.5 million balance except, in reality, the account was devoid of any funds. Then there was the ever-popular $3.5 million bank account guaranteed by company -- and we know the company guaranteed the balance because its Managing Director sent a letter confirming the guarantee; but, hold on, turns out that the guaranteeing company never heard of this particular Managing Director. READ

After helping found what was variously called the NASD (later "FINRA") Dissident  and/or Reform Movement in the late 1990s, I continued to promote industry reform through working with and supporting various Board candidates and causes. A few years ago, out of disgust with the direction that the FINRA small firm community was being taken, I abandoned any further active role in that regard. I saw far too many folks looking to promote their business interests or engage in despicable personal attacks against other men and women whose only alleged affront was to have the audacity to also seek nomination to various FINRA offices. As the Great Recession took its toll on FINRA membership and with particular potency among smaller firms, the lack of principled and competent leadership added to the death spiral. In all fairness, however, let us not tar all who served and acknowledge the contributions of many who ably served the small-firm constituency and the needs of industry reform, 

Recently, I learned that Robert A. Muh announced his candidacy for a small-firm Governorship. I urge all FINRA Small Firm Executive Reprsentatives to sign Bob's nominating peition. In order to gain nomination, Bob needs 108 signed nomination forms. As Bob notes on his website:

Throughout the course of my career I've advocated on behalf of small firms, championing our needs and representing our interests. I hope to put my 40 years of experience and industry relationships to work for you. With only three small firm representatives on the Board, it is imperative that we add a voice that will be listened to by the other 23 board members.