The SIPA

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ACTUAL PHONE CALLS TO FINRA RELEASED

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FINRA recently launched with much fanfare its toll free senior hot line.

WASHINGTON—The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has launched the toll-free FINRA Securities Helpline for SeniorsTM to provide older investors with a supportive place to get assistance from knowledgeable FINRA staff related to concerns they have with their brokerage accounts and investments. Senior investors can call FINRA’s new toll-free FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors (844-57-HELPS or 844-574-3577) from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and get neutral, knowledgeable assistance with:

• understanding how to review your investment portfolio or account statements;

• concerns about the handling of a brokerage account; and

• investor tools and resources from FINRA, including BrokerCheck®.

This is an incredible development and has already reaped a huge response of callers to the line. In fact The SIPA was able to obtain transcripts of some of the calls to the new line.

FINRA: “Thank you for calling the FINRA senior hot line how may we help”?

CALLER: “ Hi my name is Robert, I’m 71 years old and lost over $2,000,000 in my brokerage account the last ten years, it was basically my life savings

FINRA: “ Oh dear that’s terrible, how did that happen and what firm were you with”

CALLER: “ well I was at one of the top five Wall Street firms.. I wanted strength and stability, not one of those chop shops…He thought it would be a good idea back in 2007 to buy as many mortgage backed securities as possible and it all collapsed.”

FINRA: “ Ahemmm, well sir, as you know the market carries inherent risk…were you always in CMO’s?”

CALLER: “Well before that, he had me in something called an Auction Rate Security? ARS? He called it as good as cash but all I know is that I can withdraw my cash at any time from my bank but for some dang gone reason in 2007 I was told the market was frozen so I lost a good chunk of money there”

FINRA: “I see, perhaps you should have just invested in stocks in some large cap quality stocks instead of these derivatives”?

CALLER: “ well that was the other problem, at one point he had me buy as much WCOM as possible and even as news of its demise and accounting problems came out he assured me to hold my position because his firm’s head research said this was just a momentary glitch and that he would consider adding to his WCOM position.. he was even on TV saying this so I bought even more WCOM and then a week later it was worthless

FINRA: “oh ,well, that was truly unfortunate market fluctuation sir…Perhaps in the future you should just stick with buying Mutual Funds”?

CALLER: “well maam we went that route but at one point my mutual fund trading was so vast and confusing that I received calls from the Attorney General of NY to inquire why I was buying mutual funds rapidly and in many cases buying mutual funds at the previous days price”

FINRA: “well sir, this is really disappointing to hear did you try any other investments”?

CALLER: “ I did, before I joined one of the largest firms on Wall Street, I did a private placement in a small start up at this tiny Broker Dealer in Long Island…I think I lost about $25,000 on this tech play

FINRA: “ SIR, I NEED YOU TO IMMEDIATELY SEND ME ANY AND ALL INFORMATION ON THE FIRM, THE OFFERING MATERIAL THE DUE DILIGENCE REPORT AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION YOU MAY HAVE”!!!!!! WE WILL GET TO THE BOTTOM THIS ASAP!

CALLER: “ Ok I will get that over to you after my shift bagging groceries at Publix ends tonight

Now, for those of you with ruffled feather, lighten up a bit and think of the irony of the current regulatory state of the industry. We keep putting in rules, reports, procedures, transparency, and accounting and just about everything you can think of yet at the end of the day the largest criminals in the industry have largely gone unpunished. Although this is a tongue in cheek farce I concocted, I do openly wonder what would happen if /when a Senior calls this line complaining of poor performance, unsuitability and more ? I hope I’m wrong but I seriously doubt there will be much action taken against the Wall Street cartel firms. What do you think of this new call center?

Please share your thoughts with us.

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Date
April 22nd, 2015

Author
jbusacca

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