April 16, 2022
For Wall Street advisors thinking of making a move to another firm, the options can be overwhelming. Where do you even begin? Some think word-of-mouth is the best way to go, it's not. There are likely many firms that could be interested in your business but you don't know what you don't know and could be missing out on some great future employers. Should you look only at wirehouses? What about regionals or boutique firms? Should you consider Independents or RIA's? And if you are lucky enough to land in front of a motivated employer, do you know what to ask for and how best to go about it? After all, you want to get the best deal possible, right? Which tends to leave the option used by most savvy Wall Street professionals: Find a trusted industry recruiter who will carefully market you to firms where you present a good fit. Remember that the hiring firms pay the recruiter's fees, so you're going to get expertise at no extra cost.
It's not just Charles Schwab or Robinhood. It's not just GameStop. It's not all the fault of Reddit or social media. To the contrary, Wall Street expanded to a point where its operational capacity doesn't keep pace. In the rush to cut commissions, expand online trading, and cater to those eager to "play" the stock market, brokerage firms are frequently overwhelmed by surges in volume or computer outages. Sure, there are times when it's just the nature of technology. More recently, a finger might even be pointed at COVID. But where are the industry's regulators? Where are the consequences for a lack of planning or a lack of funding or a lack of management? In a recent lawsuit against Schwab, customers raise many of these issues -- and not for the first time . . . and likely not for the last time.
There are times when you read something and you think it says something. Then you re-read that same document and realize that you inferred quite a bit that was not stated or implied. Then your re-read that document, yet again, and realize that it doesn't actually say anything and, in truth, is pointless. All of which brings us to a 2021 FINRA Arbitration Award. Which brings us to a 2022 federal court opinion -- a second one, at that. Which brings us nowhere but at the end of the beginning of a circle.
In today's blog we are left wondering. FINRA makes an exceptionally strong regulatory case against a former Morgan Stanley registered representative, who is charged with multiple violations. All in all, it's not a pretty picture that FINRA paints. It's the strength of FINRA's case that may raise an eyebrow or two when you learn that the rep was not barred from the industry. Of course a 20-month suspension isn't a light slap on the wrist. Still -- you read the allegations and see what you think.