Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

December 23, 2017

Has FINRA Just Threatened To Shut Down Wall Street's Fantasy Leagues And Office Sports Pools?

A recent FINRA regulatory settlement troubles and angers Blog publisher Bill Singer, Esq.  FINRA is so intent on ringing up the cash register for fines and sending some small fry to the penalty box that the self-regulator fails to see that hundreds of thousands of industry employee who are in a fantasy sports league or who make a weekly wager on sports are technically in violation of one of FINRA's most frequently enforced rules. Among Bill's choice words for this featured FINRA settlement are hypocritical, asinine, inane, moronic, stupid, pandering, insincere, sanctimonious, self-righteous; specious, spurious, and glib. READ

Arbitrators OK Raymond James Liquidation Of JTWROS Account For Broker Husband's Loan

Today's Blog deals with unanswered questions. We start with a fairly straightforward proposition of Raymond James wanting to be repaid the remaining balance on a loan it made to a former associated person. Fair enough. On the other hand, it seems that Raymond James is holding on for dear life to the former associated person's Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship account, in which his wife is the other tenant. In filing its lawsuit, Raymond James named the husband as a Respondent and also named the wife as a Respondent. The wife refused to submit to FINRA arbitration. Now what? Can Raymond James essentially seize the assets in the JTWROS to satisfy the husband's debt if the wife is not subject to FINRA arbitration jurisdiction? Also, how come the wife isn't subject to FINRA jurisdiction? READ

Second Circuit Reinstates BATS HFT Class Action
After Michael Lewis published "Flash Boys," the world awoke to a very dire picture of high frequency trading ("HFT") and its corrosive and corrupting influences on the so-called level playing field that Wall Street so dearly wants to market to the public. The fact is -- and this is coming from a 35-year industry veteran -- there has never been a level playing field in the financial markets. They want you to believe that fairy tale. You may actually believe it. But the truth is that the cards are often marked, the wheels are rigged, the dice loaded, and the House retains the odds (and, yes, there are more than a few professional cheaters who make a nice living operating on the fringe). Sorry to burst your bubble. All of which set the stage for the filing of a number of lawsuits about the fraud perpetrated via HFT and how more than a handful of self-regulatory organizations ("SROs") seemed to have either looked askance or, worse, engaged in complicit behavior. READ

A Little Bit Of FINRA Hypocrisy For $20,000 ( Blog) The laws of physics don't always apply to the regulation of Wall Street. Sometimes, things appear out of thin air and exist but then suddenly don't but then, just as mystifying, return to our realm of existence . . . or do they? The one constant throughout this metaphysical setting is that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority stands ready to impose fines. In a recent regulatory settlement, FINRA seems to suggest that one of its small member firms had written supervisory procedures but, then again, didn't, or, perhaps put another way, maybe those procedures existed but were never fully compliant, but, on the other hand, those procedures were compliant when first approved but lapsed into non-compliance, but, oddly, it's not clear as to when things went from compliant to non-compliant but, hey, a $20,000 fine should stop you from asking more questions. Welcome to the world of hypocrisy. READ

Victim Blamed For Victimizing Victimizers In ATM Federal Appeal

Walking up to an ATM machine reminds me of the harrowing scene in the movie "Marathon Man," when Laurence Olivier asks Dustin Hoffman: "Is it safe?" From the second I place my bank card into the reader, I imagine all sorts of things that are unsafe about the transaction. There could be a skimmer on the ATM. Someone could be across the street with a telescope trying to steal my password. The machine may be broken and I will be charged for cash that I never got. My credit card may get stuck in the reader and I can't retrieve it. That guy standing at the other machine may pull out a gun and steal my money. Other than that, what's to worry about?

In today's Blog we present the fascinating case of two ATM programmers who rigged the machines to become very friendly piggy-banks. Not so much a Christmas layaway as a takeaway but, these days, it's about as uplifting a Christmas tale as your gonna get. READ