August 29, 2020
In a recent FINRA regulatory settlement, we come across a rep who was sucked into the fascinating, fabulous, and perplexing world of cryptocurrency. As an assistant to the head of a so-called prospective crypto trading exchange, the rep showed impressive enthusiasm in taking on all sorts of tasks in furtherance of the business. On top of that, he invested his own money into the venture and purportedly secured funds from others. In some lines of work, you can get involved in outside business activities and securities transactions without giving your employer prior notice. Not so on Wall Street.
Sometimes I go on a rant when it comes to regulatory idiocy. Today is more of a rampage. At the moment, my anger is directed at "SEC Monitoring Impact of Hurricane Laura on Capital Markets" (SEC Release / August 26, 2020). It is a document bereft of common sense and woefully devoid of compassion.
Recently, BrokeAndBroker.com publisher Bill Singer has been inundated with calls from industry associated persons worrying about the future of their firms, contemplating resignation, or troubled about potential post-employment litigation against them by their former employer. Bill raised some of the issues with prominent industry recruiter W. Ron Edde of Millennium Career Advisors.
Another day. Another FINRA Arbitration Award comes under court scrutiny. We have an exchange between an expert for Claimant Charles Schwab and an arbitrator. In retrospect, not such a big deal. In retrospect, however, the exchange injected an issue into the bona fides of the arbitration. Then we have a shared ride to the airport between an arbitrator and one of Claimant's expert witnesses. In retrospect, that's a bigger deal. In retrospect, you have to shake your head and ask what everyone was thinking (or not). Then there's the other issue about the third arbitrator needing to participate from home via telephone. In retrospect, omigod, what the hell is going on here? No wonder the public customer Respondent wanted a mulligan.
Most games have rules. Even if a rule is carved in stone, however, it's usually open to some interpretation, which is why we got umpires, referees, judges, and scorers, who see what we see but make a call that half of us think is right, half of us think is wrong -- and even when we go to the video, the tape shows a play that's too close to call. Then you have professional sports where there is a whole mess of so-called unwritten rules. All of which seems to come into play in a recent effort by Edward Jones to enjoin one of its former employees who joined Ameriprise.