Blog by Bill Singer Esq WEEK IN REVIEW

July 14, 2018

5% Solution In FINRA Expungement Arbitration ( Blog)
In today's Blog, we feature a FINRA arbitration in which a public customer seeks at least $2 million in damages against Raymond James. As is often the case in such sales-practices disputes, unnamed registered representatives are required to disclose on their industry records the customer's allegations. If the customers prevail with their claims, then the registered reps sort of get what's coming to them. If the customers fail, the reps are forced to pursue FINRA's time consuming and expensive expungement process. As today's case demonstrates, FINRA's version of mandatory customer and intra-industry arbitration is often unfair and seems little more than a Mickey Mouse profit-center for the self-regulatory-organization.

Cut, Pasted, Traced, Signed, Sealed, Delivered . . . and Suspended by FINRA ( Blog)
As the Blog has covered in the past and apparently will continue to cover into the future, we got another registered rep who figures that customer service includes saving his customers the time and inconvenience of actually signing on the dotted line. In this digital age, you'd sort of think that those taking the old signature short-cut would scan a customer's signature and affix it onto a PDF document. On the other hand, as evidenced in today's featured FINRA regulatory settlement, some folks are old-school and on this throwback Thursday, we got an old-fashioned bit of cut-and-paste and an even more prehistoric tracing! Which makes me wonder when someone will pull out a sheet of carbon paper or, who knows, maybe send me something via fax.

Travelin' Man Comes To End of Wall Street Line ( Blog)
We've all been there. That moment when we pondered whether to do or not to do something that we knew was wrong but, hey, not all that wrong and, c'mon, who the hell is going to find out? There were benefits to consider. There were costs to weigh. We attempted to calculate whether right outweighed wrong but, oh my, the dollar signs flashed and the thrill of ragin' against the machine got a hold of our moral compass, and, crap, everything froze and all we could do was hold down the power switch and hope the re-boot would work. For the lucky among us, after our brain temporarily shut down and we re-booted, we were safely returned to the last restore point with no harm.  We swore on everything holy that we would never, ever make such a stupid mistake again. For the unlucky among us, there was no reboot other than the dreaded blue screen and a hopelessly corrupted BIOS -- and to make matters worse, we never bothered to make a back-up. In a recent FINRA regulatory settlement, we come across one associated person with a penchant for travel and an operating system that crashed and never got its owner back to a safe restore point.

Stockbrokers Victimized By Customer Imposter And FINRA Fees And Charges  ( Blog)
FINRA continues to have a hard time understanding the concept of "victim." In a recent FINRA expungement arbitration, two stockbrokers were victimized by complaints falsely filed against them by an imposter. Given that the customer repudiated the complaints, there isn't much dispute about them being bona fide. You'd sort of think that FINRA would have a procedure to quickly and without cost secure the expungement of such bogus complaints from a stockbroker's record. After reading today's featured Blog case, you may wish to re-think your concepts of fair and reasonable.

Morgan Stanley Broker Wins Expungement After Firm Settled With Customer ( Blog) any group of litigators in any industry is an unwritten book about lawyers and law firms that we somewhat derogatorily refer to as "settlers." No . . . we're not talking about the Wild West and those who trekked by wagon train. We're talking about folks who cave in after giving you the impression that they will fight to the bitter end. If the settler is part of the Defense Bar, we often say that dealing with such a lawyer or law firm is akin to backing up a Brinks truck and loading it up. If we're referring to the Claimant Bar, we often jokingly characterize such settlers as lawyers or law firms who turn a $1 million case into a $10,000 settlement. In order to get good settlements for your clients, you need to develop the reputation of going to the mat and to verdict. You need to be known as someone who is willing to try a case to the proverbial bitter end. You don't need to win the case but you need to leave your opponent coughing up blood and with sore ribs so that your opponent is not all that crazy for a re-match. In a recent FINRA public customer arbitration, Morgan Stanley settled with the claimants. It may have been a cheap price to pay and a wonderful result for the brokerage firm. Then again, when you read the arbitrators' analysis of the customers' case, you sort of wonder whether Morgan Stanley just doesn't have the stomach for a game of high-stakes litigation poker. In the bare knuckle, no-holds-barred world of Wall Street, you sure as hell better earn the rep as a Street Fightin' Man!