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Lieutenant Colonel Elton Johnson on Way to Afghanistan Calls Out Finra…AGAIN!!

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 11, 2011 7:07 AM |

I first wrote about Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization, FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) in January 2009. At that point and ever since I have believed strongly that for a revitalization of the health and confidence of our capital markets, our economy, and ultimately our nation itself that FINRA needed to become a MUCH more transparent organization. Regular readers of Sense on Cents know how passionately I feel.

Regrettably, though, outside of those regularly involved in the financial industry, I believe few people in our nation even know who FINRA is or what they do regulating Wall Street. I strongly believe that reality needs to change. Who would seem to share my belief? Amerivet Securities’ Lieutenant Colonel Elton Johnson, a member of the United States Army Reserve.

I first became aware of Johnson’s battle for transparency within FINRA in August 2009. I was enthused that somebody else cared to discover and expose the inner workings of Wall Street’s SRO.

Given all that our nation has experienced over the last few years, who would not support a call for increased and total transparency for any and all financial regulators? Why is it that the media targets the pathetic performance of the SEC while FINRA gets a free pass? FINRA’s parent, the NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) had primary oversight responsibilities of Bernie Madoff. FINRA has an internal investment portfolio that liquidated $647 million auction-rate securities mere months before that market segment totally imploded and froze. You think we need real transparency within this organization? Are you kidding me? Is the Pope Catholic?

How has FINRA responded to calls by Johnson and others within the industry for real transparency? Largely with lip service, a cold shoulder, and when need be, a plea of immunity. What? Immunity? Yep, that’s right. FINRA conveniently and effectively utilizes a plea of immunity to obviate the call for transparency by Johnson and others. Is this America? FINRA may report through the SEC, but it is a private organization. Immunity? I call it ARROGANCE! That said, the battle wages on and the pursuit of transparency continues.

Late last week, Amerivet won a key legal victory in its efforts to gain access to certain of FINRA’s books and records. Judge John Mott of the DC Superior Court held that FINRA is not entitled to immunity from Amerivet’s suit seeking access to the organization’s books and records.  Judge Mott also held that Amerivet satisfied its burden under Delaware law and that it may proceed with its case.  Rather than confront the merits of Amerivet’s case, FINRA is now pondering whether to seek an immediate appeal on immunity grounds.  The next hearing is scheduled for March 4, 2011 in Washington, DC.

I implore you to take the few minutes and read Lieutenant Colonel Johnson’s hard hitting recent statement sent to all FINRA member firms (click on image to open a pdf document):

Whom do you support in this case? Would you like to see real transparency within FINRA, or do you believe FINRA should be granted immunity? Please leave a comment either stating “Johnson/Amerivet” or “FINRA”. If you care to expound further, certainly feel free. In the process, let’s send a message to Lieutenant Colonel Johnson and his comrades, our brothers and sisters, as they defend our nation, our freedom, and our liberties. I salute them all.

Almost makes me want to vomit thinking of Johnson serving in Afghanistan while those within FINRA and those also serving on its board make a plea for immunity. That’s America? I don’t think so.

Please comment so Johnson knows how much we support him and his efforts.

Larry Doyle

Sense on Cents Related Commentary:
Sense on Cents/Amerivet

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

  • Pete

    Johnson/Amerivet….a thousand times over!! Thanks you Lt. Colonel Johnson for your service.

  • Excellent coverage, Larry. I am, of course, on the side of Amerivet and will follow the March hearings. Even a glimmer of progress would be most welcome. As you well know, FINRA, SEC and a majority of the financial services industry is used to working in the dark and under cover by the those charged with policing abuses. We truly need a transformational movement. Amerivet’s push is helpful in building momentum. Your no nonsense columns are equally important. Let’s cross fingers and hope retail investors educate themselves and join the demand for transparency and honest cops on the beat.

  • USMA

    Major “hoo-rah” to Lieutenant Colonel Johnson for his work on this front!!

    I salute him!!

  • LW

    Voting early and often for LT Colonel Johnson on this front.

    Open up those books and records!!

  • disenchanted

    Dear LT Colonel- If you read this blog I hope you can feel the emotions we all have for you. Having the courage to stand up for our country obviously does not mean just fighting overseas to you. You are fighting for us here in the states also. I don’t know which battle you consider is tougher, but I hope you come out victorious on all fronts. Stay safe and may G-d be with you.

  • Johnson/Amerivet

    Thank you Colonel for your service on all fronts. I stand with you on the side of truth and transparency. And pray for your (and all our service men and women’s) safe return.

  • Elton

    Give ’em hell, Elton!! We’ve got your back.

  • Kathy


  • Huckleberry

    Thanks, short Col EJ!

    semper fi

    Cpl Huckleberry, 1988 – 1995

  • Herbert Walker

    Johnson/Amerivet 100%!

    The FINRA Board is an enemy of the people of the United States. Their loyalty is only to the elites, their masters.

  • fred


    Nowhere in gov’t is there a better example of the incestuous relationship between Wall St and Washington than FINRA and the SEC.

    Why doesn’t America care? Why don’t the institutions created to protect the public interest step up and do their jobs?

    Using the Egypt uprising as a guide, how do we harness the powers of social (inter)networking to enact long overdue institutional reform in this country? Why not request the direct and indirect support of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikileaks.

    Good Luck Lieutenant Colonel, I fully support your righteous efforts.

  • shaina

    This is very sad, very sad only!!!

    FINRA will not last too long going in this direction, or at least I hope it won’t go on like this…Too many unhappy people…too many unhappy investors!!!

    Dear Colonel Johnson, our prayers with you and Please do comeback Home Safely!!!

  • shaina

    Its very sad to hear this…

    FINRA cannot go on like this or at least in this direction, too many people are unhappy…too many investors are unhappy…..The more I read about FINRA the more disappointed I get….

    Dear Colonel Johnson, Please DO comeback Home Safely,…you have more fighting to do here…in the United States!!!

  • Larry. Great job. You continue to expose these critical stories and yet no major media pick them up. It is tremendously frustrating to watch. Do Americans really know what is happening to our country?

    Colonel Johnson. Your leadership is inspiring. Thank you for standing up for what is right and fighting against financial tyranny here in America. Please be careful on your tour…it would look awfully suspect if anything should happen to you.

    Larry and followers. We have someone fighting this same battle with the government and regulators, just a little differently, that is currently being held in prison without bail.

    Vincent McCrudden has been battling these same people and asking the same questions and has testified in front of various boards to expose this corrupt process and system…to no avail. He has been publically “found guilty” before being proven innocent, which he will be.

    We may not all agree on the methods, but we must all agree that this system needs to change.

    Larry. Jon Stewart, a “comedian” had hundreds of thousands of people show up in DC to be “entertained” and maybe informed a little.

    Donald Trump had very similar things to say the other night on “Larry King” (actually Piers Morgan Show).

    Maybe it’s time to organize a little get together on Wall Street to show that the financial community is ready to stand together on this and demand change?

    Lead the way Larry…

    Visit to find out more about Vincent’s current battle and how you can help. There is far more too this than what is being told. Please ask yourself, what would make someone this mad?


    FINRA desperately needs to be reformed and to become a MUCH more transparent organization. Old records need to be opened up for review. FINRA does not deserve immunity on any grounds. I wholeheartedly support Col. Johnson and Amerivet’s efforts to accomplish reforms.

  • Larry. Below is a quote from Bernie Madoff whistleblower, Markopolos about the SEC and FINRA at a Congressional Hearing:

    “The committee let FINRA’s Luparello off easy, only asking him one question.) Asked by a committee member to compare the two agencies failings, Markopolos said, “I never thought the SEC was corrupt … FINRA is definitely in bed with the industry.” Asked later by Rep. Kanjorski about those comments as well as which one Markopolos thought was better, “a corrupt regulator or an incompetent one,” Markopolos answered, “I’d give the SEC an A+ for incompetence and FINRA an A+ for corruption.” That he’s still living after years of trying to put a stop to Madoff is proof the SEC isn’t corrupt, he says. “I don’t think I’d be standing here today if the SEC had taken money, had told Mr. Madoff my identity,” he said, referring to press reports that international organized crime syndicates were invested with Madoff. Here is a link to the entire story…

    What can and should be done? We’re talking about billions of dollars and Congress knows about it and there is still no action to fix it.

    What do you and your readers feel is the answer?

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