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Posts Tagged ‘lawsuit against FINRA’

Stories Deserving More Attention: Did You See This?

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 8th, 2013 8:21 AM |

While taking a brief respite from writing last week, I was struck by a number of stories worthy of real attention. Some of these items have received a fair bit of focus, while others may have passed largely unnoticed.

I will reference these stories now and will certainly come back to many, if not all, of them in the near future. The items include:

1. In what might only be compared to trying to turn around the Titanic on one of your local streets, the Bank of Japan is launching a “quantitative easing on steroids” program. The goal of “all this juice” is to generate a 2% rate of inflation in the next two years from what has been a two-decade deflationary cycle.  (more…)

Will America Learn This Thursday if Mary Schapiro is a Liar?

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 12th, 2010 12:20 PM |

Head of SEC, Mary Schapiro

Head of SEC, Mary Schapiro

January 14, 2010 at 4pm
U.S. Distict Court for the Southern District of N.Y.
Presiding Justice, Jed Rakoff

Will America learn this Thursday afternoon if SEC Chair Mary Schapiro did in fact lie verbally and in a proxy statement regarding the merger of the NASD with NYSE Regulation to form FINRA?

As I highlighted in my commentary yesterday, “The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission Should Investigate…”, I believe FINRA and Mary Schapiro are truly the embodiment of the Wall Street-Washington cabal that stifles the truth, transparency, and integrity America so badly deserves.

For more details on this case and the upcoming hearing, I submit the following press release that came out this morning:

MAJOR NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ASK WALL STREET SELF-REGULATOR TO COME
CLEAN ON ALLEGED WRONGDOING AND URGE FEDERAL JUDGE TO UNSEAL
KEY REDACTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION IN BROKERS’LAWSUIT AGAINST
FINRA.
    Mary Schapiro and other NASD Managers Allegedly Lied to and
Shortchanged NASD Member Broker-Dealers in 2006 Merger with
NYSE and otherwise Violated Their Fiduciary Responsibilities.
 (more…)

Mary Schapiro Has Some ‘Splainin To Do…

Posted by Larry Doyle on October 8th, 2009 4:03 PM |

Mary Schapiro

Big money makes for a very strange bedfellow. Is FINRA sleeping well these days? A pending lawsuit against FINRA would like to pull back the covers and check to see if the money in the FINRA mattress was allocated appropriately. Let’s enter the sitting room and take a peek into this corner of the FINRA household.

In the process of consolidating the NASD with NYSE Regulation to form FINRA, the NASD allocated capital proceeds to its member firms. This capital was generated via the initial public offering of the Nasdaq. Did the NASD, now known as FINRA, significantly underallocate capital proceeds to its member firms? This alleged underallocation, known as being ‘picked off’ on Wall Street, is the basis for a lawsuit brought by two FINRA member firms, Benchmark and Standard Investment Chartered.

Why am I concerned about the arcane inner workings and legal issues of a Wall Street self-regulatory organization? For the very same reason that I’m concerned about that regulator’s internal investment portfolio activities. Transparency or the lack thereof and the resulting confidence or lack thereof that the American public has in our entire financial regulatory system. Those goals strike me as worthy especially in light of the systemic risks embedded in an array of organizations which this regulator was charged to oversee. Yes, a large amount of exposure and transparency is badly needed at this point in our economic history. Against this backdrop, let’s navigate and see what we can learn about this lawsuit.

The law firms of Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca along with Greenfield and Goodman are representing the plaintiffs. From the former’s website we learn:

Along with our co-counsel Greenfield & Goodman, LLC, we currently represent members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) (formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers or “NASD”) in United States District Court and Court of Appeals litigation.  The complaints, which are based on state law, allege that defendants, among other things, obtained the NASD members’ vote in support of the consolidation of NASD and NYSE Regulation through an inaccurate and deceptive proxy statement and solicitation process. (LD’s highlight) At issue in the suit is whether NASD could have distributed to its members a larger share of the approximately $1.5 billion of NASD members’ equity.  As members will recall, NASD repeatedly asserted that the IRS imposed a $35,000 “hard cap” on what the NASD could pay its members.

Wow. With a $1.5 billion pie, we are talking big money. In light of that, a charge labeled as ‘inaccurate and deceptive proxy statement and solicitation process’ is aggressive especially for an industry’s regulatory organization. Whatever happened to embracing accuracy and clarity? Let’s continue.

Some documents from the litigation that shed light on the truth of these statements are now public.  However, FINRA has insisted that the key fact – the amount the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) told NASD it could distribute – remain secret, that is, under seal.

Secret? Under seal? Those terms aren’t synonymous with transparent. I thought under the ‘change’ being promoted by the Obama administration transparency would be embraced. What this looks like is more ‘business as usual’ on Wall Street. Navigating further we learn,

>The IRS did not limit the payment to member firms to $35,000 as NASD and its officials insisted.

>The IRS did not issue a formal ruling on the payment to members until March 13, 2007 – approximately two months after the member vote on the bylaws occurred.November 21, 2006.

>NASD Board Minutes demonstrate that the NASD Board discussed the $35,000 limit stating, “regardless of the amount agreed upon, it was paramount that the figure not be subject to negotiation.”

At this juncture, if I could be so bold as to steal a line from Ricky Ricardo in engaging Lucy, I would say to Mary Schapiro who headed FINRA, “you got some ‘splainin to do.”

For any legal beagles and overachievers in the audience, I am happy to submit the following legal documents pertaining to this case:

Communications between NASD and the IRS

NASD Board Materials

Proxy Materials

Internal NASD Emails

Internal NASD Memoranda

Communications Between NASD and NYSE

Rest assured, I will be monitoring developments in this case closely.

LD






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