Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Category Archives: Disciplinary Process

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Money Talks, And FINRA Is Listening

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions
Last year I wrote about FINRA’s effort to encourage firms to self-report their problems, pausing to wonder at the suggestion attributed to Jessica Hopper, a Senior Vice President with Enforcement, that cooperating with FINRA by self-reporting “not only fulfills a firm’s regulatory responsibilities, but it can also mean the difference between a slap on the… Continue Reading

FINRA’s “Massive” Discovery Failure Results In…Absolutely Nothing

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions, Uncategorized
You are not going to believe this one. Here are the unadulterated facts, taken directly from the Order entered by the FINRA Hearing Officer (an Order, by the way, which FINRA elected not to publish on its website): Five days into an Enforcement hearing against Respondent Steven Larson, “Enforcement disclosed that it just realized it… Continue Reading

FINRA’s Stated Paradigm Shift On Enforcement Actions

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA
I have spoken about FINRA possibly putting an end to the policy of pursuing cases where formal disciplinary action serves little to no regulatory purpose. That welcome paradigm shift may be upon us. This year, FINRA, in essence, pronounced that its “broken windows” strategy of pursuing Enforcement cases over the smallest and most technical violations… Continue Reading

Help! FINRA Is Calling My Customers

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Discovery, Examination, FINRA, Rule 8210
Here is a really interesting post from Michael regarding those potentially uncomfortable moments when FINRA calls non-complaining customers.  Because FINRA is not the government, it has no subpoena power over these people, and so needs them to cooperate voluntarily.  The problem is that FINRA does an awful job of informing non-complaining customers that they are… Continue Reading

SEC Decrees That Its ALJs Are Constitutional. Now What?

Posted in Disciplinary Process, SEC
After spending the last few years ferociously denying that there was any constitutional issue with the manner in which SEC Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) were appointed to their position, this morning, the SEC announced that it had “ratified” the prior appointment of each of its ALJs – Murray, Foelak, Elliot, Grimes and Patil.   You can read the… Continue Reading

No Bar For Submitting False Expense Reports?

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions
Here is a post from Michael about a recent settlement involving the submission of false expense reports.  The issue isn’t the misconduct, but, rather, the rather tepid sanctions imposed.  Do I sense the pendulum starting to swing back? – Alan It is no secret that FINRA’s Department of Enforcement is attempting to maintain a lower… Continue Reading

Dawn Bennett Redefines “Spirited Defense” In Her SEC Case

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, SEC
This one belongs in the “truth is stranger than fiction” category. By now, you are probably familiar with the exploits of Dawn Bennett, former hostess of her radio show, “Financial Myth Busting.” She was the one who the SEC permanently barred last year after she elected not to appear at her administrative hearing (after her… Continue Reading

FINRA Provides The Blueprint For Monitoring Outside Business Activities

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Disclosure, Enforcement, FINRA, Outside business activities
Outside business activities are in the news. In Reg Notice 17-20, FINRA announced that it was seeking comments in an effort to learn whether or not the existing rules governing OBAs are effective.  (The comment period is open until late June, so if you have strong feelings on the subject, now is the time to… Continue Reading

Does FINRA Give Credit For Self-Reporting Problems? It Says It Does, But….

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Reg Notice 08-70, Sanctions, Settlements
I read a fascinating piece the other day in BankInvestmentConsultant about FINRA’s Enforcement program, specifically about the notion of broker-dealers self-reporting problems, and whether that was a smart thing to do.  Some of the quotes attributed to FINRA senior Enforcement management are really interesting, so I wanted to share them with you in the event… Continue Reading

FINRA’s AML Fines: Murky (And Expensive) Waters

Posted in AML, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Rule 3011, Rule 3310, Sanctions, Supervision
In this post, Michael Gross complains — and rightly so — about the lack of any definitive guidance from FINRA regarding the appropriate range of fines to be imposed for AML violations.  The bigger issue, however, at least in my view, is not necessarily the lack of guidance, but the fact that the fines FINRA… Continue Reading

As Berthel Fisher Just Learned, Those Who Don’t Know FINRA’s History Of Disciplinary Actions Are Doomed To Repeat It

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Supervision
I have often used these posts to lament the fact that FINRA consistently acts as an enforcement driven group of crazed examiners, hell-bent on writing firms up for technical violations, at best, uncaring about the dramatic ramifications of their seemingly ceaseless attack on well-meaning broker-dealers and their owners. While I still harbor those feelings, occasionally… Continue Reading

When It Comes To Testifying To The SEC, Providing Alternative Facts Can Be A Bad Idea

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, Examination, FINRA, SEC
At the beginning of most FINRA OTRs, the examiner reads from a script of sorts, outlining some of the basic rules governing the proceeding. One of the things the script calls for is an express acknowledgement by the witness that he or she is testifying pursuant to Rule 8210, and that, as a result, a… Continue Reading

FINRA Tweaks The Sanction Guidelines Again And – Guess What? – It Wasn’t To Make Them Gentler

Posted in Defenses, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions, Supervision
Remember a few weeks ago? Remember I blogged about Robert Cook, FINRA’s new CEO?  And how he was saying all the right things about FINRA perhaps being juuuuust a bit too Enforcement oriented?  I expressed hope – sincere but wary hope – that given his remarks, it was possible that the pendulum might actually start… Continue Reading

When FINRA Can’t Discipline The Firm, Individuals Pay The Price

Posted in CCO liability, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Rule 3010
There has been a lot of discussion over the past few years, including in this blog, about the growing – and troubling – trend for Chief Compliance Officers to be named as respondents in disciplinary actions.  While regulators regularly deny that they truly have it out for CCOs, as is often the case, their actions… Continue Reading
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