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NASD Fines Securities America

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Sep 15, 2006 8:33 am

Okay, serious stuff here and I am NOT picking on AMP's Securities America unit.

1. I take it most of you read this RR story by now. The problem is NOT confined to AMP. Several years ago a Merrill broker (Joel Cessna) did the same thing (fleeced numerous retired blue collar workers at Rubbermaid in Wooster, OH). He snagged them by putting on "retiree seminars."

2. Merrill didn't fire him until he had accumulated well over 20 NASD complaints. After Merrill fired him, some 3rd tier firm hired him. Can't recall their name (St. Louis based) but their idea of a chief compliance officer was, "must have some college" in a want ad they had placed!

3. Most of you here are in the market for new clients and we all know most retirees need some sort of professional advice from time to time which means "more biz for us."

What are your firms doing for YOU to help you secure some of that biz? Do you agree that failure to supervise rogue brokers like the AMP one in Baton Rouge, LA or the former Merrill one in Wooster, OH gives us all a bad reputation?

What (in your opinion) can your firms do to make branch supervision more effective? By effective, I mean truly help a broker as far as snagging more clients and manging their money properly so that everyone makes money, including the client.

Here's the NASD press release in the event some of you have not seen it:

Sep 15, 2006 1:51 pm

I really don't see this as a big problem.  There's no profession on the planet that's criminal-free, and financial planning's no different.  The number of financial advisors taking advantage of clients is just so incredibly small compared to the number of financial advisors truly trying to do the right thing.  We don't need more regulation, but we do need to ensure that what we have is being enforced.

Sep 15, 2006 1:54 pm

I see a problem with it.  Compliance requirements are pretty burdensome compared to 10 years ago, yet the NASD is ineffective in stopping guys like these from getting out there and screwing investors and ruining our reputation.

We pay a “productivity tax” in the form of NASD regulation, yet what do we really get in return for it?

Sep 15, 2006 2:30 pm

Great point joe. It's always the same old bs. These guys operate in perpetuity and never really seem to go away. Then the average guy (broker & client) gets to pay the price for these sorry m*th*rf*ck*rs crimes.

Sep 15, 2006 4:09 pm

and it took 20 NASD complaints for Merrill to fire him? something’s wrong with that.

Sep 15, 2006 4:25 pm

[quote=wanda]and it took 20 NASD complaints for Merrill to fire him? something's wrong with that. [/quote]

We don't really know the details.  He could've gotten 20 complaints from the 401k clients on the same day....

Sep 15, 2006 4:51 pm

I don't know Cessna or this Ameriprise guy. I do know Cessna was not put out the door at Merrill until complaint #20 showed up.

If you GOOG(le) Joel Cessna and crosslink with Merrill Lynch, there's a NY Times story on it, a few Wall Street letter ones, maybe even a RR one.

I agree with Joe, there needs to be some way for SEC/NASD to weed guys like this out faster as they are the minority and everyone else pays for their crimes in more ways than one including tarnishing the industry's reputation.

Jan 11, 2007 3:35 am

We can complain all we want, but does anyone have any ideas on how B/D’s can be preemptive and find “crooked” reps before they lose all of their client’s money?