Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

February 3, 2018

R.I.P. Dennis Edwards

FINRA Stuffs Stifel's Trading Ahead Exemptions 
Few aspects of regulating Wall Street are more fundamental than those requiring that public customers get the best execution for their orders, particularly when the customers' orders and those of their brokerage firm are competing to get filled at the best price. The simplest way to envision this so-called trading ahead scenario is to imagine that a public customer and her broker-dealer arrive at the exact same time before the exact same door, which is only wide enough for one at a time to fit through. When that narrow opening presents itself, the default regulatory protocol is for the broker-dealer to politely step aside and graciously say "after you." Most of the time, that's what happens. Sometimes, it doesn't. When it doesn't, there are rule exemptions permitting a broker-dealer to get out of line, elbow the customer aside, and bolt through the door. As you might imagine, when such discourtesy occurs in the trading line, Wall Street's regulators don't simply accept any old excuse. If a broker-dealer wants to cite an exemption for cutting in line, the regulators want proof that the trading ahead of a customer satisfied the requirements set forth in the exemption. In a recent FINRA regulatory settlement, we see what happens when a broker-dealer cuts in front of the trading line but can't satisfy the terms of the exemption. READ

Ameriprise And Former Rep Battle It Out Over EFL And Defamation ( Blog)
In today's Blog we have the interesting scenario in which a disgruntled, former Ameriprise employee sues her former employer for over a million bucks. About a month later, the former employer returns the favor and sues its former employee for six figures. Underlying both lawsuits is an employee forgivable loan, and allegations of defamation and breach of contract. By the time these disputes arrive before a FINRA Arbitration Panel, there ain't much love lost between the parties. It all seems fairly cut and dry. And then our publisher Bill Singer had to go online and started poking around. On the one hand. On the other hand. Maybe. Maybe not. See how you feel about everything when you get to the end of today's blog. READ

Epic Rant About A Tepid FINRA Regulatory Settlement 
(BrokeAndBrokercom Blog)
Ya got yer folks who like takin' tests. Ya got yer folks who don't mind takin' tests but just don't do well on them. Ya got yer folks who don't like takin' tests. Ya got yer folks who don't like takin' tests and just don't do well on them. Then ya got yer folks who think they've figgered it all out and, well, you know, like takin' or not like takin' tests, damn, why not just get someone else to take the damn test for ya and not have to bother with the whole showin' up in person thing. Today's Blog explores the interaction between the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and one of those folks who apparently didn't want to bother with having to sit down and take a test and found someone else to substitute for him. READ

Defined Benefit Pension Plan Dispute Taxes Stockbrokers And Brokerage Firms ( Blog)
Tax season is upon us. Added into that already volatile mix of rules, regulations, laws, and opinions is a lot of uncertainty about the Trump administration's tax reform plans. Public customers should be meeting with their tax professionals and ensuring that any contemplated asset sales or purchases make tax sense. As often develops during this time of year, certain assets are in a highly depreciated or appreciated state and the sale of such an asset could produce an undesirable capital event. All of which prompts a lot of discussion between customers and stockbrokers about tax shelters and transfers of assets and deferring recognition of proceeds and the like. Of course, later on, when the tax bill comes and it turns out that the customer misunderstood the advice or the stockbroker was misinformed, well then it's time to hire an expensive lawyer and likely spend more money on a lawsuit then the damages that you will be awarded but at least you will make the lawyer happy.

Advice ( Blog)
There are times when you just have to shake your head and wonder.  As I get older, I find my neck getting sore from all the back and forth twisting. You start trying to explain something and the words just don't come out and the more you try to think about what to say, the more you realize how stupid and absurd the whole thing is and, maybe, just maybe, there ain't no way to explain  the thing you're trying to explain because it's so ridiculous as to be unexplainable. Which brings to mind the eye poppin', jaw droppin' escapades of fraudster Joseph Vitale, now known as federal inmate #15859-104 READ