If you look around many Wall Street offices today, the Friday before the July 4th holiday, you'll likely notice a thinning of the ranks. Some folks are on vacation. Some folks are downstairs getting iced coffee but they may or may not be coming back. Some folks say that they're going to the bathroom or an early lunch but they too may or may not be coming back. As understaffed as the Street may be today, Monday will likely be an even less well-attended workday.
The bank, Mr. Burris's bosses explained, examines the amount of JPMorgan-branded portfolios of mutual funds that brokers sell. "If you look at our firm, 50 percent of all our sales go" to those investments, Mr. Haigis said. Furthermore, he said, such products draw less scrutiny from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which polices Wall Street.
The more serious criticisms of Mr. Burris began to show up on his disciplinary record soon after he went public with his grievances against JPMorgan. In the course of two weeks, three client complaints showed up on his regulatory records.During his arbitration case, Mr. Burris's lawyer asked a JPMorgan supervisor at his old branch in Arizona whether the client complaints were "written by someone at JPMorgan" or if any JPMorgan employee had "helped" draft them."Absolutely not," the JPMorgan employee, Umbreen Kazmi, responded to both questions.It was only after the arbitration case was over that Mr. Burris tracked down the clients and learned that the letters had, in fact, been drafted by one of his old colleagues at JPMorgan, Ms. Gavin, a close associate of Ms. Kazmi.
Burris, who was fired in November 2012 over the incidents, filed a whistleblower complaint with Finra that same month. The New York Times wrote a story in March 2013 about his charges that JPMorgan pressured brokers to sell proprietary mutual funds, and followed with a story about his accusations that the bank manufactured client complaints to damage his personal and professional reputation."The firm has provided false documents, false statements under oath, pretext for termination and a myriad of other problems for [whistleblowers]," Burris' attorney, Robert D. Mitchell, wrote in a letter to Finra on August 1 in response to a Wells notice saying the regulator was likely to bring an enforcement action.Burris said Finra is being pressured by JP Morgan to discredit him now because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to rule imminently on his request for protection against retaliation. He also contended that as one of Finra's largest member firms, the bank has undue influence over the industry-financed self-regulator
Now an independent RIA, Burris runs Burris Wealth Management in Surprise, Arizona, and serves mainly elderly clients. Two years after he initiated his OSHA whistleblower case, Burris says he got a got a call from Margery Shanoff, a FINRA enforcement attorney, in the spring of last year.Burris said she told him that FINRA had completed a thorough investigation into his activities at JPMorgan."You are in big trouble," he recalls Shanoff telling him.Burris said he asked how that could be, given that no one had called to get his side of the story. Shanoff did not respond to a request for her description of the conversation.