Blog by Bill Singer WEEK IN REVIEW

March 18, 2017

JP Morgan And FINRA Connect The Dots When It Matters

Today's FINRA regulatory case started with a credit card. Then there was a protest by the card-holder, an associated person of FINRA member firm J.P. Morgan Securities. Then there was an in-house investigation. Then you got some whoppers of excuses as to why the charges weren't the employee's. Then we have the end of an employment relationship. Then we have a regulatory settlement. And then, Blog's Bill Singer goes off on a tirade. READ 

Chile Client Cases Chill FINRA

FINRA gave a chilly reception to two associated persons from the same member firm who had received finders fees for their referrals of clients to the same Chilean accounting firms. Given the oddity of that fact pattern, it sort of seems -- maybe one could argue that it is strongly implied -- that the two respondents were working together? Given the oddity of FINRA's approach to regulating Wall Street, we're left with more questions than answers. READ

Stifel Gives It Away In SEC Settlement

Was a time when wrap fee accounts were all the rage. The future of financial services. The alternative to transaction-based commissions. The salvation of Wall Street. Alas, the promise may remain but the implementation and monitoring of this fee approach hasn't always lived up to expectations, as evidenced in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") regulatory settlement involving venerable Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, which has been registered with the SEC since 1936 and offers retail and institutional brokerage, and investment banking services. Since 1975, Stifel has been a registered investment advisor; and among its advisory services, Stifel offers clients the ability to participate in separately managed wrap fee programs through which third-party sub-advisers exercise discretion. These wrap-fee programs charge a single, annual fee that covers advisor, trade execution, custodial, and other standard brokerage services. READ

A massive blizzard that is pounding the Northeast this morning. As such, 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 in winter.

As fall fell upon the brook, the birds began to take to the skies and fly south for warmer climes. One bird, Manny, wasn't quite sure if there was any point in pulling up stakes. It had been a warmer than usual fall. Maybe there wasn't any point in closing down the nest and joining the annual exodus. Older, wiser birds than Manny pulled him aside and said to get a move on. They warned him that winter was coming with a vengeance. Manny knew better. He was a young bird and a risk taker. He decided to hang in there near the tree by the brook. READ

Tax season is upon us and many Wall Street registered persons may be unable to pay their taxes. It's not something unique to the securities industry. Lots of folks can't pay their tax bills. In some cases, they miscalculated what they owed. In other cases, misfortune or folly has wiped out their bank accounts. For those in the biz, however, on top of trying to come up with some work-out for your tax debt, there is also the obligation to disclose various financial developments to your employer and regulators. In some cases the mere whiff of financial difficulties may get you fired: A consideration that often prompts such debtors to cross their fingers, not disclose what they know they must, and hope that no one finds out. It's a lousy bet and a gambit that may not only end with the likely discovery of the debts but it may cost the non-disclosing individual a career. READ