Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

May 26, 2018

As The FINRA WORM Turns ( Blog) Blog publisher Bill Singer, Esq. lets it fly today with his analysis of a FINRA regulatory settlement involving a four-rep member firm. It's not that the firm didn't screw up. It appears that it did. Some nonsense involving how it stored emails going back some six years. Bill gives FINRA that much. There was misconduct. There were violations. He's not arguing those points. On the other hand, what's accomplished with the meaningless gesture of a Censure and the impotent imposition of a $5,000 fine? Would you like fries with that settlement? Would you like to super-size your beverage? Is that to go? Will that be cash or charge? Have a nice day! 

Busted Out Credit Cards Bust Defendants ( Blog)
I'm sure that you've read about crooks stealing personal identification and then running around charging all sorts of stuff on credit cards that they loaded with the information that they stole. Sure, I could do that  -- you've probably said to yourself -- but if I applied for that job, they'd never hire me. I got the talent but not the know-how. Some of you may have even gone online to see if there's some kind of how-to guide you could read and learn the ropes yourself.  A word of caution, if there's a free app showing you how to bust out credit cards but it requires you to provide your name, address, social security number, and father's middle name, I would likely decline but, you know, I'm just a suspicious kind of fellow. Maybe you're more trusting? If so, bust that move and go for it. And while you're busting your moves, consider United States of America v. Talat Ali Maan, Syed Rehman, Kashif Idrees, Jaweed Wahed Ahmed, and Fatou Djambo (Criminal Complaint, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, No. 18-6095)

Batting 500 In FINRA Expungement ( Blog)
Ty Cobb's career batting average was .3664 and Rogers Hornsby's was .3585. Those are the two best career averages in the history of major league baseball. All of which means that if you get a hit about three times for every ten plate appearances, you're likely an All-Star and maybe headed for the Hall of Fame. Not everything in life, however, equates to baseball. If only a third of a surgeon's patients survive, that doctor ain't no all-star or future hall-of-famer. Lawyers -- well, that's an interesting scenario. Prosecutors should probably win over 90% of their cases because they are supposed to have probable cause before filing charges. Defense lawyers, on the other hand, well those folks tend to represent a large percentage of guilty folks; and sometimes the best you can do is reduce a death sentence to life, a life sentence to 20 years, a 20-year sentence to 5 years, and possession of a truckload of cocaine to possession of narcotics paraphernalia (the coke spoon around your neck). Like I said, you got baseball and you got life. In a recent FINRA expungement case, the Claimant stockbroker batted 500. You be the judge as to how well he did.

Arbitration Mistake Becomes A FINRA Moneymaker ( Blog)
Imagine that you logged on to the wrong website and were charged $12,000 for that oops. Imagine that Amazon was charged $12,000 every time it sent a package to the wrong address. Imagine that you got socked with a $12,000 fee for each time you butt dialed someone. If life teaches us anything, it's that we often pay for our mistakes. On the other hand, when folks goof, it shouldn't be an opportunity to a fee and a surcharge and a penalty fee and a service fee. An oops is still an oops -- except when you need two forms of photo ID and a credit card to make amends. Consider the cost of a public customer's screw-up in a recent FINRA arbitration. It's gotta be FINRA's favorite mistake and quite the money maker!

Post Mortem Auto-Pilot Trading Sends Stockbroker's Career Into Head-On Regulatory Crash ( Blog)
Regardless of the business that you're in, if you have clients, they can and do die. Sometimes you are prepared for a customer's demise because they have been in failing health. Sometimes it's an unexpected accident or medical event. When a customer dies, businesses servicing such deceased parties typically have many policies and procedures that kick in -- some designed to protect the business and others to protect the interest of the deceased. Despite the best of plans and intentions, the protocols in place to address a customer's death don't always stand up to the demands of the customer's heirs (purported or otherwise) or the best-intentions of those with whom the deceased had business dealings. In a recent FINRA regulatory settlement, we come across the post-mortem conduct of a stockbroker who didn't yet know that his customer had died.