More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Client Communication and Miscommunication RIA policies and procedures must specify what type of communications should be retained. The safest course of action is for RIAs to retain all communicationsto clients, from clients, and about client accounts. To comply with fiduciary obligations, communications must be thorough and not mislead.
- Disaster Recovery Plans and Succession Planning RIAs owe a fiduciary duty to clients to prepare for disasters and other contingencies. If an RIA does not have a disaster recovery plan, clients financial well-being may be jeopardized. RIAs should also engage in succession planning, ensuring a smooth transaction if an owner or principal leaves.
FINRA board member Joel Blumenschein has resigned as he was recently fined $30,000 and suspended by FINRA for allegedly failing to supervise one of his company’s brokers, Gary Gossett.
The complaint against Blumenschein, president of Freedom Investors, claimed that Gossett made “a series of unsuitable penny stock trades in the retirement account of a customer of limited means” without the customer’s permission.
FINRA described Freedom Investors' oversight system as “so inadequate that Blumenschein was unable to provide a consistent or coherent description of it.” FINRA also claimed in the settlement that “his testimony, under oath, was at times both evasive and contradictory, thus highlighting the system's inadequacies.”
Tracy Stoneman of Stoneman Law Firm in Westcliffe, Colo., said in a statement that she has long felt that FINRA and its predecessor, the National Association of Securities Dealers, have been “soft" on their members. She penned a book in 2002 titled “Brokerage Fraud: What Wall Street Doesn't Want you to Know,” in which she criticized the regulators for being incapable of properly supervising their own members because of the “conflict in not wanting to bite the hand that feeds it.”
Stoneman, who’s about to write another book that she says will “have even harsher criticism of the regulators,” said that the recent FINRA board member sanction is a perfect example of a serious problem in the upper ranks of FINRA “when board members participate in the same wrongful activity that FINRA is charged with supervising.”