September 18, 2021
In today's blog we come upon an all-too common bit of Wall Street misconduct: fudging personal expenses so as to make them look like reimbursable business expenses. Some of the machinations that we've reported about come off as piggish, pathetic, and, okay, perhaps a bit laughable despite it all. What is no joke are the consequences after getting caught. More often than not, you get fired. More often than not, a devastating disclosure is placed on your industry record. More often than not, a regulator will fine and suspend (or bar) you. All of which leaves us wondering why you did it; and, frankly, I suspect that you're left to wonder the same thing for the rest of your life.
Among the explanations/excuses offered by the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower ("OWB") for the delays in processing claims for whistleblower awards is that the regulator's docket is rife with filings by serial filers of frivolous claims. The SEC would have us believe that such frivolity overwhelms the regulator's resources. Of course, one might fairly wonder about the apparent lack of managerial protocols to quickly re-route such serial abusers onto an administrative off-ramp, where they might be expeditiously reviewed and prevented from jamming up the timely processing of the meritorious WB-APPs that are now rotting away. Yet again, Big Government proves more adept at presenting excuses than providing solutions.
In keeping with Wall Street's ever-changing guard, we come upon a young Merrill Lynch trader in his 20s. He has the pedigree. He has the chops. He even seems to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Unfortunately, as FINRA sees it, he's got several Aces of Spades hidden above his wrist and is rigging the game -- sure, let's call it as it is: He's cheating. Not there there's really anything amounting to a fair shuffle of the cards or a fair deal on the Street, but, hey, if it makes you feel better, we can all wink and nod knowingly.