Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

November 12, 2016

Among the most common FINRA regulatory matters that are presented in the Blog are those involving registered representative's failures to disclose (or to timely disclose) matters on their Form U4.  As noted in the blog by author Bill Singer, Esq., a non-disclosure allegation by FINRA takes on even greater dimension when the regulator asserts that the failure was willful because such a finding would render the respondent statutorily discharged. In recent years, it seems that the overwhelming majority of non-disclosure cases, particularly those involving criminal charges and tax liens, are settled with the finding of "willful," which is why today's featured FINRA settlement is so fascinating: There is no finding of willfulness despite a fact pattern disclosing multiple failures to timely disclose tax liens. READ

In today's Blog, we got a mob of angry villagers chasing after Frankenstein's monster and then a cameo appearance by Godzilla. Then we got mistakes. Two types. We got clearly erroneous errors and we got obvious errors.  On top of that, we have time running out as a brokerage firm drops that ball before it can get off an audible. In the end, it's all really the customer's fault but that doesn't matter because we got rules, and those rule have to be followed. READ

Finally, a Finra Arbitrator gets it and thankfully makes the effort to note the devastating impact that defamation has on a veteran stockbroker's career. In pertinent part, the FINRA Arbitration Decision states:

FINRA picked up Respondent's defamatory language in the BrokerCheck, and the damage was done. Claimant's career was ruined when securities firms refused to hire her, and her ability to support herself and her family was destroyed.

Even with the benefit and wisdom of 20/20 hindsight, there are some situations that just seem to suck a victim into an unseen morass from which they are then dragged into oblivion. It's not that such victims are blameless; fact is, they often should have seen where they were heading and taken more steps to avoid the looming disaster. Notwithstanding, right or wrong, victim or victimizer, it's rarely an enjoyable event when you see a career unravel. As with so many of these tales, it's often a careless error or silly mistake that marks the first steps off the beaten path. As a recent FINRA saga shows, something as innocuous as a trade error can start the process that ends with our undoing. READ

Death is an uneasy topic for many to contemplate. In the financial services sector, however, the inevitability of death is a critical factor when implementing an investment strategy and estate planning. Taken a step further, death may even offer investment opportunities. A recent Securities and Exchange Commission case demonstrates how issues of mortality raise troubling legal and regulatory concerns. READ

If you would like to pitch a Guest Blog for the Blog, please send a brief outline of the proposed article to

I don't open attached files from unknown senders, so make sure that your pitch is in the text portion of the email. I welcome all views and perspectives, even when they erroneously conflict mine. Please do not send me puff or marketing pieces. I am looking for serious regulatory/legal/compliance commentary on important cases and developing issues. Also, I am seeking thoughtful observations about investing and market trends. Customer advocates and unrepentant industry apologists are all welcome. 

There is no compensation; however, I am happy to post your direct contact information and professional biography. See these recent GUEST BLOGS:

If you can demonstrate a responsive audience for your musings, I will even consider a permanent column for you on my site. If you've got the writer's itch, scratch it at the Blog. Send submissions to: