Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

January 27, 2018

FINRA Fines Firm Over Research Reports Practices 
( Blog)
Today's Blog presents a concise regulatory settlement from FINRA about research reports violations. Research reports? Yeah, you're right, we haven't seen a lot in recent years about research violations. The Europeans have been rolling out some new disclosure rules about research via their Markets in Financial Instruments Directive or MiFID, but that's them and not us. Seems only yesterday that the newspapers were filled with headlines about the horrors of bought-and-sold research and front-running. These days -- what's a newspaper? On the other hand, maybe Wall Street's regulators don't have enough to do and are looking for a new target of opportunity and, go figure, what's old is new and research practices may be under scrutiny again. READ

Abuse And Harassment On Wall Street ( Blog) Blog publisher Bill Singer, Esq. is troubled by a recent FINRA regulatory settlement. The facts of the matter are cringe-worthy. Frankly, it all adds up to some moron stockbroker posting an online sexual solicitation in what seems to be a misguided effort to retaliate against another stockbroker. It's the stuff that should get someone sued. It may even be the stuff that should prompt an employer to fire you. Beyond the civil lawsuit and the firing, is this also a subject for Wall Street regulation replete with fines, suspensions, or bars? Bill's not saying he has the answers. Bill is saying that he has some provocative questions. READ

Stockbroker Expunges 7 Year Old UBS Customer Suitability Complaint ( Blog)

Six years after a customer complained about allegedly unsuitable trades, a registered representative files a FINRA expungement arbitration challenging the posting of the customer's allegations on his industry record. Given the time that has passed, that's going to be quite a challenge. One FINRA arbitrator handled this case and provides us with a thoughtful rationale for recommending expungement. It's an interesting seven-year journey from customer complaint to a FINRA Arbitration Decision, and an intriguing exercise in how the pros and cons of such a case are weighed. READ

FINRA Arbitrators See No UBS, Citigroup, Or Merrill Customers And Dismiss Case ( Blog)

Some public customers approach a FINRA arbitration against their former brokerage firm and stockbroker as if it's a fairly informal event -- not like going to court and maybe you could even show up in shorts and flip-flops. Other public customers come to FINRA arbitration deadly serious. They ain't takin' no prisoners. They ain't playin' no games. They enter the hearing room with a wheelbarrow filled with documents and intent to answer the bell for the 13th round of a 12 round fight. In today's featured FINRA arbitration we got the deadly-serious version of unhappy Claimants. The Claimants filed a Statement of Claim that is breath-taking in terms of its breadth and depth of charges. As combatants, the Claimants seemed ready to go toe-to-toe in furtherance of their claims. They sort of entered the ring and met in the middle of the mat where the ref told them not to hit below the belt and when to go to a neutral corner. And, okay, maybe the contestants even grudgingly banged gloves as a token of respect. Unfortunately, the Claimants never got to that point in the match where the bell rings for the first round. To the surprise of all in attendance, the judges refused to allow the contest to go forward and disqualified the Claimants. READ

FINRA Sanctions Charitable Remainder Trust Pitch ( Blog)
 In today's Blog, our publisher Bill Singer, Esq. analyzes an excellent FINRA AWC involving the promotion of a charitable remainder trust by a registered rep. Bill applauds FINRA's well-written settlement and finds the self-regulator's rationale compelling. On top of that, the imposed fine and suspension seem balanced and fair. The regulator did a superb job in presenting its case. The Respondent's lawyer did a superb job in negotiating a reasonable package of sanctions. Unfortunately, there's a voluntary Corrective Action Statement appended to the published AWC and as Blog readers know, Bill doesn't like these after-thoughts -- not one bit. READ