Beware The Boredom Of The Massachusetts Secretary Of The Commonwealth

Rogue brokers, you're all on notice.
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Bill Galvin appear a bit hard up for things to do these days. Thanks to stupid federal laws, some of his favorite pastimes have been put out-of-bounds. Serving as Merrill Lynch’s third-party compliance enforcement office has proven less amusing than he might have hoped. That Third Avenue redemption debacle seems to have blown over. And probing robo-advisors is apparently every bit as interesting as it sounds. So Secretary Bill is going on a little fishing expedition. Digging not all-that-deep into his “to do” folder, he found a few of those Wall Street Journal articles about just how shady your average FINRA-registered broker is. And it occurred to him: “I’ll bet a not-insubstantial-number of these firms hiring shady brokers by the truckload have some kind of presence in Massachusetts.” And so there are: 241 of them, all of which should be checking their mailboxes for official-looking letters postmarked Boston asking for some summer reading for the Secretary.

Commonwealth Secretary William Galvin said he sent letters to firms in which more than 15 percent of their current representatives have at least one current disclosure incident on their records.

"This exceeds the average percentage found among all Massachusetts-registered broker-dealers," Galvin said in a news release. Disclosure incidents can involve allegations from disputes headed for arbitration to illegal conduct….

“My office diligently works to keep the bad actors out of the Commonwealth,” Galvin said. "... This sweep is intended to establish how the industry is meeting this critical investor protection responsibility of keeping the rogue broker out of the industry.”

Massachusetts securities regulator hunts for ‘rogue’ brokers [Reuters]

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The Less-Colorful Eliot Spitzer Strikes Again

[caption id="attachment_99794" align="alignleft" width="260"] No jurisdiction can hold me.[/caption] Hedge fund manager Phil Goldstein once said that when Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin looks in the mirror in the morning, he sees Eliot Spitzer. Granted, he said this before certain aspects of Client Number Nine's private life hit the front pages, but the point was made. And while Spitzer moves from one failed media venture to another—undoubtedly paying very close attention to a certain South Carolina House race—Galvin still carries the torch and a copy of the Bay State's securities law. That law must be unusually broad, because he's used it to fine a German bank $17.5 million for naughtiness related to a CDO created with an Illinois-based hedge fund.