Responsibility re: rumors?

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Jun 9, 2010 9:03 am

Quick question for the forum:

I'm a Jones FA in Seg 2 (started New/New). I was talking to another Jones rep the other day who tends to be a notorious gossip, and he let slip that a BOA in our region who is his close friend, told him that her very young FA has been doctoring client forms by whiting out and re-using signatures! The BOA is supposedly on the verge of quitting over it, but neither the BOA nor my gossipy friend has reported this to Jones.

This is now like 4th party innuendo at best by the time it reaches me, but I feel like if I have even heard a rumor about something like that, I have a responsibility to inform the firm. I can do it anonymously. Am I in the right place to do it, even just so they can look into the matter and clear the FA if it's not true?

Jun 9, 2010 9:30 am

Tex, if you know about it, and do nothing about it, and Jones eventually does an inquiry and one of those parties claims they told you, Jones might not look positively on that.  I never like being a "snitch", but this type of behavior seriously undermines the integrity of our firm and our industry as a whole.  The only way to keep the "bad guys" out of our industry is to nip these things in the bud.  Today it's doctoring signatures for "convenience", tomorrow it's doctoring signatures for less desirable reasons.  One bad thing leads to another.

I liken this to PED's in pro baseball.  Everyone just turned a blind eye to it until it nearly crushed the game.  I think you know the right thing to do.  The worst that could happen is that Jones does an investigation and finds no wrong-doing.  But if he IS doing it, he needs to go.

Jun 9, 2010 11:25 am

Guys like that shouldn't be at Jones, period.  Or in the industry at all.  Seems like everytime home office sends out a compliance notification about all of the FAs that got fired recently there's a person or two on there for doing stuff like this.  If he's too stupid to know that what he's doing is a terminable offense, not to mention illegal, then he deserves what he gets. 

Call who you need to call.  Tell them it's fourth hand info, but you wanted to make sure it's not true.  Better yet, call the BOA and tell her to call.  That way it's first hand info and if it's true, she'll know.  I can't imagine giving up my job because my boss is doing something stupid.  Jones can find her a new FA in a couple of days more than likely. It may take her a lot longer to find a new job. 

Jun 9, 2010 8:32 pm

@ B - yes I do know the right thing to do. There should never be a moral dilemma in what we do. It's right or it's not.

Thanks, guys for the input. I think I just needed to hear that I wasn't meddling by doing what I intended to do anyway.

Jun 9, 2010 9:39 pm

You might just drop a bug in this FAs ear that you've heard rumors it's happening at their office and you want to give them a heads up if it's happening they will get caught.  They will lose their job.  Even if it's not true and you go to your branch manager or compliance it could leave a black mark on this guys reputation for no reason. What in the world could he be re-using signatures for anyway?

Just another opinion.  Young guys make mistakes sometimes when trying to do the right thing.

Jun 9, 2010 10:23 pm

@ Jump - I have no idea what you'd re-use a signature for but it's happened before in the time I've been here.

Thanks again for the input guys.

Jun 11, 2010 1:36 pm

[quote=inlandTX]...told him that her very young FA has been doctoring client forms by whiting out and re-using signatures...

[/quote] Someone please help me understand wtf this means? The FA uses whiteout to remove the signature and then reuse that signature elsewhere? The only thing I can guess is the FA is removing all information from a page except the signature and then photocopy the signature to a new form?  

How can Spiff and B-24 give advice on this? I think you need to clarify what you heard first.

Jun 11, 2010 2:48 pm

We can give advice because Jones, and I would assume all other brokerage firms, makes it abundantly clear that tampering with a client's signature in any way is a huge mistake that will typically cost you your job or a ton of cash in a big fine.  The "doctoring client forms" should be more than enough to let you know that something not quite right is going on there.  

Jun 11, 2010 3:38 pm

The law is the law and I agree that the advisor should be looked into IF the advisor is tampering with signatures. But, the correct response would have been to state your interpretation of the law as you did just now to me and then ask for more clarity on the situation. What the OP has provided does not make since unless they are grasping at straws to cause trouble for someone they don't like. Your advice may have just caused undue troubles for a hardworking advisor. Maybe or maybe not who knows but when giving advice assume both POVs.

Jun 13, 2010 10:11 am

[quote=inlandTX]

Quick question for the forum:

I'm a Jones FA in Seg 2 (started New/New). I was talking to another Jones rep the other day who tends to be a notorious gossip, and he let slip that a BOA in our region who is his close friend, told him that her very young FA has been doctoring client forms by whiting out and re-using signatures! The BOA is supposedly on the verge of quitting over it, but neither the BOA nor my gossipy friend has reported this to Jones.

This is now like 4th party innuendo at best by the time it reaches me, but I feel like if I have even heard a rumor about something like that, I have a responsibility to inform the firm. I can do it anonymously. Am I in the right place to do it, even just so they can look into the matter and clear the FA if it's not true?

[/quote]

Since you are seg 2 I will assume that you have been with the firm for somewhere between 12-18 months.  Now you have heard a rumor about someone and feel that it is your duty to have it checked out.  STOP!!  Before you turn this guy in you better make d*mn sure that there is merit to the rumor.  I can assure you that over the next few years with Jones you will "hear" stuff about other FAs.  Some is true, most is not.  You do not want to put someone through a compliance investigation based on "4th party innuendo at best" .  A compliance investigation can be a grueling process especially if you get an *ss for an investigator.  I know because I had one once.  After they sent out a team of auditors and drug me through emotional hell for 4 weeks they closed the investigation with a simple email that stated "no findings".  I felt like I had been raped.  I had no idea why the investigation was launched until a friend at HQ let it slip that a BOA heard it from a FA who heard it from a BOA and called the ethics hotline. 

If this guy is doing this stuff he needs to be fired TODAY.  But my guess would be a  "very young FA" doesn't need to doctor too many forms.  They have few clients and plenty of time.  Please check it out a little more.

Jun 13, 2010 8:16 pm

[quote=spamfilter]

[quote=inlandTX]

Quick question for the forum:

I'm a Jones FA in Seg 2 (started New/New). I was talking to another Jones rep the other day who tends to be a notorious gossip, and he let slip that a BOA in our region who is his close friend, told him that her very young FA has been doctoring client forms by whiting out and re-using signatures! The BOA is supposedly on the verge of quitting over it, but neither the BOA nor my gossipy friend has reported this to Jones.

This is now like 4th party innuendo at best by the time it reaches me, but I feel like if I have even heard a rumor about something like that, I have a responsibility to inform the firm. I can do it anonymously. Am I in the right place to do it, even just so they can look into the matter and clear the FA if it's not true?

[/quote]

Since you are seg 2 I will assume that you have been with the firm for somewhere between 12-18 months.  Now you have heard a rumor about someone and feel that it is your duty to have it checked out.  STOP!!  Before you turn this guy in you better make d*mn sure that there is merit to the rumor.  I can assure you that over the next few years with Jones you will "hear" stuff about other FAs.  Some is true, most is not.  You do not want to put someone through a compliance investigation based on "4th party innuendo at best" .  A compliance investigation can be a grueling process especially if you get an *ss for an investigator.  I know because I had one once.  After they sent out a team of auditors and drug me through emotional hell for 4 weeks they closed the investigation with a simple email that stated "no findings".  I felt like I had been raped.  I had no idea why the investigation was launched until a friend at HQ let it slip that a BOA heard it from a FA who heard it from a BOA and called the ethics hotline. 

If this guy is doing this stuff he needs to be fired TODAY.  But my guess would be a  "very young FA" doesn't need to doctor too many forms.  They have few clients and plenty of time.  Please check it out a little more.

[/quote]

More true than you know. If I had a lot of faith in the source of the material, I would have gone to Jones already. I called the guy the day after I posted this and said I want you to tell me exactly what you know, who told you, etc. He started waffling a lot. I actually think the dude is just a gossipy busy-body (he's almost on Goals as it is) who spread something from a disgruntled former BOA. I did not take this to the firm and at this point, don't intend to. I told him if it isn't enough for him to report it, then it isn't enough for him to be spreading it around the region.

Case closed and thank you guys for your input.

Jun 14, 2010 6:13 pm

I think you did the right thing.  I also think you should reach out to the FA in question and give him a heads up but no names.