Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Category Archives: Disciplinary Process

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It Is Not Possible To Predict When FINRA Will Charge Something As Willful. Or Is It?

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Willfullness
I have written a few times about FINRA’s ceaseless interest in bringing cases against registered reps who fail to update their Form U-4 in a timely manner to disclose the fact that a tax lien has been filed against them.  Or several tax liens.  The problem with these cases is not so much the sanctions… Continue Reading

A Glaring Example Of FINRA Dragging Its Feet, Culminating In A Pointless Default Decision

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, Examination, FINRA
FINRA loves to tout its supposed intent to bring meaningful cases, cases that matter to the investing public, rather than enforcing “foot faults,” as it has been accused of doing over the years. My own experience with FINRA suggests that while it talks a big game, in reality, we all still live in foot-fault city.… Continue Reading

FINRA Touts The Fact That Its Examinations Need Not Be “Fair”

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, Examination, FINRA
While I feel I have enjoyed as much success defending respondents in FINRA Enforcement matters as anyone, I am still careful to caution clients who are unwilling to consider any settlement that going toe-to-toe with FINRA at a hearing is always a difficult proposition, even though they are presumed innocent and FINRA bears the burden… Continue Reading

FINRA Proposes To Dispense With Due Process, All Because It’s Failed To Do Its Job Of Policing The Markets

Posted in Disciplinary Process, FINRA, High-Risk firms
Reading Reg Notice 19-17 makes me think of the legal arguments that I’ve recently read regarding whether a president can be found guilty of obstructing justice if the actions in question were taken out in the open, for everyone to see. Here, FINRA’s proposed power grab is simply outrageous, but, you got to give them… Continue Reading

Voya Settlement Shows That Self-Reporting To FINRA Can Pay Off

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions
I have written before about the troubling lack of clarity regarding the tangible benefit of self-reporting rule violations to FINRA. While FINRA purports to provide some potential advantage for doing so, it is so awfully loosy-goosy that it remains a relatively uncommon occurrence. That’s why when a case comes down that provides some clear indication… Continue Reading

FINRA AWC Includes Waiver Of A Fine: Is This A Sign Of Good Things To Come?

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions
Way back in 2006, NASD issued Notice to Members 06-55, which tweaked the Sanction Guidelines to allow not just the size of the firm to be taken into consideration when determining the appropriate sanctions to be meted out, but, more importantly, how well, or how poorly, the firm is doing on its income statement. Specifically,… Continue Reading

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
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