Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

December 16, 2017

U Can't Touch This PERFECT FINRA Suitability Arbitration Decision
It's Hammer Time! A FINRA arbitrator just penned a Decision about a suitability case that's so close to perfection that . . . well . . . you know . . . u can't touch this!!  Ya got yer content. Ya got yer context. Ya got understandable explanations. Frankly, the Blog's publisher Bill Singer is having a throw-back Friday and dancin' around in shiny gold Hammer pants. Bill's bustin' quite the lawyerly moves this morning. Okay, so, sure, not exactly a sight for sore eyes but at least Bill didn't arrive to work today astride a horse called Sassy. READ

The FINRA Gestalt

The word "gestalt" means something made of many parts but whose wholeness is more than or different from the mere sum of those parts. When it comes to the self regulation of Wall Street, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority seems to have a penchant for gestalt. FINRA loves to knit together a number of seemingly harmless acts into a patchwork quilt that takes on the appearance of something more ominous. The parts add up to a violation even if each part, taken on its own, may not. Sometimes there is a compelling gestalt and FINRA's right. Other times, it's nonsense like that canvass in the modern art gallery that's been painted white and someone tells you it depicts man's inhumanity to man presented against a landscape of moral ambiguity . . . and it's yours for $3.5 million (will that be cash or check?). READ

FINRA Arbitrator Holds Public Customer Claimant In Contempt

I'm one of those cranky bastards who doesn't like to be kept waiting. If I have an appointment, I tend to arrive a bit early. My time is valuable -- as is yours; worse, I make a living by charging by the hour. Consequently, when I came upon a recent FINRA arbitration in which a public customer had filed his lawsuit in 2015, I understood the likely seething anger of the FINRA arbitrator, the respondents, and their lawyers when Claimant attempted to cancel a previously scheduled hearing the day before it was to be conducted. To be clear and fair, life is messy and sometimes we are forced to deal with stuff that requires us to move meetings or cancel appointments. On the other hand, if you're going to ask for a last-minute cancellation of an event where numerous other folks have altered their schedule in response to your lawsuit, you sure as hell better have a compelling reason. Moreover, even if a party can't make it to the hearing, his or her lawyer should at least extend the courtesy of showing up to offer apologies and explanations. Consider a recent FINRA arbitration in which a whole mess of folks are sitting on their hands in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 24, 2017, waiting for a Claimant and his lawyer to appear at a FINRA arbitration. READ

Season's Greetings From FINRA. You're Fined And Suspended. Ho, Ho, Ho

We're nearing year-end and for many industry employees that means another cycle of annual compliance disclosures is on its way. You will get the office memo about how you need to make time to sit down at the computer and click your way through a batch of "YES" and "NO" responses about all sorts of events that may or may not have happened to you during the past year. Then there are those other queries about whether you engaged in this type of activity or have any of the following such-and-such outside accounts or if you were named in some legal proceeding. Year after year it's pretty much the same nonsense, as you would put it. The thing is, you may not have considered that you never disclosed something a few years ago because you didn't realize that you had to -- and you're continuing to answer "NO" when you should answer "YES." Then there's that other bit of language on the annual form that they changed last year and the way it's now re-worded should elicit a different response from you but for the fact that you're assuming it's the same old language that you've read every year in the past. Well . . . season's greetings and all that but, hey, you better slow down this year and make sure that you know what you're being asked to disclose. Consider a recent FINRA disciplinary settlement. READ

The Damnatio Memoriae Of Former SEC Counsel Rory Flynn ( Blog)

After complaining about his concerns of the SEC's non-compliance with its own rules, former SEC lawyer Rory Flynn was fired. Flynn appealed and sought protection as a whistleblower. As frightening a tale of the worst of government and regulation. The exaltation of incompetency. READ