As we have been continuing to report since December 6th, 2017, FINRA has proposed changes to gut the expungement process for financial professionals who seek expungement of meritless customer complaints under Rule 2080.
As we only represent the financial advisor, we talk to thousands of reps, nearly all of whom are enraged at the prospect of losing basic due process under the FINRA arbitration rules. Whether you currently have a meritless customer dispute, fear allegations being indiscriminately lobbed at you in the future, or simply wish to retain the basic American rights of "innocent until proven guilty" you should read our formal response to FINRA pointing out the problems with these new measures.
Including, and not the least of which is, FINRA's assertion that any customer dispute disclosures over 12 months old will NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR ANY REMEDY under the new arbitration rules.
Aged false, erroneous, impossible and defamatory customer claims against you and your business will be permanent on your CRD and BrokerCheck profile.
Monday, February 5th, was the end of the comment period. Now we wait on the decision of a "self-regulatory" organization that has done little to protect the livelihood of their own financial professionals.
Armin Sarabi, J.D.
Many financial professionals have pre-tax dollars provided by their broker-dealer to help them market and advertise their business. Unfortunately, with the ubiquity of FINRA's BrokerCheck and Google, any monies spent on advertising or building referrals can work against an advisor that has negative Customer Dispute or Employment Separation After Allegation disclosures on their record.
This year, resolve to use those pre-tax dollars on building your brand through the expungement of any negative FINRA disclosures. Whether it be meritless Customer Disputes, frivolous college pranks that resulted in criminal charges, or messy U5 Terminations from previous employers, FINRA currently affords you the right to prove that these disclosures offer no investor protection and to have them removed.
You not only get the benefit of having a clean CRD but then all of those additional marketing dollars are spent shining the light on an unblemished BrokerCheck profile. One that you can be proud of, one without inflammatory web links, one that distinguishes you as a financial advisor who can be trusted to manage your clients' most important assets.
So let your compliance department know that you would like to spend that business development allotment on your professional reputation this year. It not only helps your business and it helps your firm in having one more advisor with spotless record.
Protect Your Livelihood.
This blog is our ongoing effort to inform and educate FINRA licensed professionals about the evolving regulatory ecosystem in which we operate.