FINRA Reply to Bill Singer: Lost in the Mail?

March 14, 2009

My colleagues in the FINRA Dissident/Reform Movement, Peter Chepucavage and Tony Broy, have posted on the International Association of Small Broker Dealers and Advisors' (IASBDA) website, their thoughts for a more effective Wall Street Whistleblower program. I am flattered by their kind words concerning some of my prior suggestions in this area and look forward to working with them and IASBDA on this initiative.  

By way of update, despite having sent a March 5, 2009 email to FINRA seeking a meeting to discuss many reform-oriented ideas (that letter was published at and by Registered Rep. Magazine at, FINRA has still failed to respond to me in any manner.  My reaction to that silence was noted at .  

Maybe my problem is that I'm just not high-profile enough for FINRA.  I mean, you know, they don't exactly refer to me solely by my first name like they did to that guy we've been seeing a lot of in the press lately -- you know: "Bernie." And, yeah, I wasn't a former Chairman of the regulator or NASDAQ.  You know, like former Chairman Bernie.  Me?  I'm just plain old Bill. Former regulator Bill. Former industry lawyer Bill. Former three-decade industry veteran Bill. Come to think of it, my name starts with the same letter "B" as "Bernie" but my first name is a whole two letters shorter.  That should make it easier for you principled regulators at FINRA to reply to me. After all, now that the Bernie guy is out of your hair, you must have some extra time on your hands.  I mean, gee, I see that new FINRA CEO Ketchum was on television the other day, taking time off from his hardcore regulator duties to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange .  Too bad he didn't let me know he was in my hometown of New York City. I would have bought him a cup of coffee and we could have talked about industry reform.  You know--stuff like why the NYSE and the old NASD and the current FINRA missed so much fraud and corruption, and how we should heal the internal divisions within the FINRA community and harness all that energy and intellect to ensure that we never, ever again fall into this cesspool.  

In case you FINRA folks lost my email or didn't see any of its posted iterations, you can reply to me at  If you prefer to send me a first-class mail letter but are a bit short of cash these days, I'll be happy to pay the postage on my end.  See -- and you say that I'm not flexible?

Bill Singer

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March 13, 2009




We agree generally with Bill Singer's concern over protecting whistleblowers (wb's) especially those working in the industry  <>and offer the following suggestions for an effective program:

  • Outsourcing the response function should be considered. Many wb's would prefer to report to a third party that cannot retaliate. Our private investigator colleagues at Corporate Resolutions Inc have an ethics hotline that would work well especially for industry personnel.<>
  • FINRA needs to reassure the community that retaliation is not acceptable and should work with Singer on a policy for doing so. That policy at least needs to protect industry personnel from losing their jobs because they chose to do the right thing.
  • Its not productive for FINRA and the SEC to establish separate wb programs.FINRA should assess complaints initially and refer serious ones to the SEC. A  wb  not satisfied can then go directly to the SEC.
  • The press should play a major role in being open to wb's and encouraging them to come forward.
  • New York and not Washington is where the wb function should be centered.
  • The wb analysis and response should consider the following factors in prioritizing the complaints received:

1) multiple sources or wb's regarding the same parties or issues;
2) the detail of the information provided;
3) whether the wb wishes to remain anonymous even if he is directed to a 3rd party as suggested above;
4) size of the alleged problem

The wb issue has a long history going back to the Salomon Brothers case where the Commission suggested that there may be a need to go to the board of directors when management will not respond to warnings. Most recently the Commission adopted a rule regarding noisy withdrawals for counsel representing issuers who become aware of wrongdoing. Final Rule: Implementation of Standards of Professional Conduct for Attorneys; Release Nos. 33-8185; 34-47276; IC-25929; File No. S7-45-02 . However broker dealer personnel are still subject to intimidation including loss of employment for wb activty.FINRA and the SEC need to put some solid protection in place if they expect wb's to risk their careers or safety.

Peter J.Chepucavage
General Counsel
Plexus Consulting LLC
1620 I ST. N.W.
202-785-8940 ex 108