As readers of the Securities Industry Commentator and the BrokeAndBroker.com Blog know all too well, publisher Bill Singer is no fan of FINRA's Investor Education Foundation. Beyond the self-professed goal of educating investors, much of what the FINRA Foundation publishes is little more than claptrap. Sadly, in corporate America, that's what so-called activism tends to look like. You publish lots of press releases, you pay for lots of studies, you donate a few bucks here and there amid much fanfare, but, ultimately, it all comes off as more marketing than accomplishment. My suspicion is that this is by design. It's all so carefully manicured to look righteous without actually being so.
Sometimes you break a rule that you didn't know existed. Sometimes you don't think you did anything wrong and it's not clear that you even broke a rule, but a regulator argues that you did and it's cheaper to just settle the case and pay a small fine than hire an expensive lawyer. Sometimes no matter what you do, it seems like you're going to get in trouble on Wall Street. A recent FINRA regulatory settlement alleges that a newbie rep engaged in an outside business activity without having first submitted prior, written notice to his firm. All of this while we were in the midst of the Covid pandemic. Which makes you wonder about FINRA's priorities and its agenda. Yeah, you're right, the rep agreed to the settlement, so, what the hell, why even raise a stink about it. Well, that's what our publisher Bill Singer does.