I am taking the month of August off from writing the column. I'll spend part of that time rereading what I've written. I'm curious which of my past year's views I still agree with. All conclusions are inherently tentative, because none of us is omniscient. Opinions should change as life and the world changes, which they always do. We waste time holding back that tide. Send a train of thought barreling down one fork and you arrive at a terminal entirely inconsistent to the one you would have reached by the other fork. If you go down both forks at the same time -- which is what real thinking entails -- sooner or later you'll contradict yourself. It's ok. I -- and you too -- contain multitudes.
The thing about death is that there's supposed to be a finality to it. For example, after you die, you can't place orders to buy and sell stocks -- you can't even check your email or send out tweets. I mean, you know, you're dead and there's not much connectivity in the after-life, or so I'm supposing. Notwithstanding, in today's blog, we consider the case of a deceased Wells Fargo customer whose account reflected trading some nine months after he crossed over.
Elder fraud is all the rage these days. Nary a day goes by when we don't read about some horrific fraud being worked against senior citizens. Thankfully, federal and state prosecutors/regulators have been stepping up their efforts to pursue the predators who victimize senior citizens. Unfortunately, the old habits of bureaucracies die hard. Instead of spending every precious penny and second on investigation and prosecution, we see dollars and time diverted into public relations ploys. We got a task force hosting a roundtable! Why this penchant for silliness? Well, it does generate publicity and burnishes the resumes of so many consultants and brown-nosers.
Why is it that it always seems like the individual rep and small firm never get a fair break with FINRA? As publisher Bill Singer, Esq. often argues, the so-called self regulation of Wall Street is rigged against the industry's small fry. Time and time again, when FINRA can and should show some leniency towards smaller firms or associated persons, the self-regulator never quite issues the credit. In contrast, FINRA can barely get out of its way when it comes to justifying why it hasn't shut down a too-big-to-fail firm that nearly destroyed our economy. And don't be dazzled by the large fines imposed upon Wall Street's big fish. Those bucks come out of the pockets of shareholders and not the whales in the C-Suites who caused the mess. In the end, it all reeks of insincerity. FINRA loves its daily small-fish-fry. The regulator just can't figure out what to do with blubber.