At this point we shouldn’t have to continue to bring it up, but we will anyway: be certain you have your own personal, securities legal counsel at all times as an advisor. No matter your standing, loyalty to the firm, or relationships up and down the executive ranks, you are at risk. The type of legal risk never seen before in the industry.
Case in point: The top advisor at UBS was fired a couple months ago when his admin took a compliance module on his behalf without telling him she had done it. He didn’t direct her to do it, mind you. She thought she was helping him out and clearing a ‘to do’ from his schedule… sixty days later he was dismissed from the firm.
Via FinancialAdvisorIQ here is a bit of the back story from Findlay:
“I acknowledge that I violated firm policy when I failed to advice (sic) management that my assistant had taken a training module for me. However, I did not intentionally violate firm policy nor was I ever warned, put on heightened supervision or subject to any type of progressive discipline for this action,” he wrote on his BrokerCheck record, according to the website.”
“A person familiar with Findley’s situation tells AdvisorHub that Findley didn’t direct his assistant to go into the training module but didn’t inform compliance when he learned about it.”
“Two UBS sales managers intervened on his behalf but UBS’ compliance department told them the firm could otherwise face litigation from brokers dismissed for similar violations, the person tells the website.”
The sentence worth considering in the above description is “…the firm could otherwise face litigation from brokers dismissed for similar violations…”
This is the world you live in now. Should you make a clerical error that a decade ago was an easy fix and wouldn’t even register on compliance’s radar, you could get canned. And quickly.
Even if a requirement is met, but not executed in the exact way the firm demands, you could be gone.
It used to be that lower level producers would bare the brunt of this type of ‘message sending’ to keep bigger producers on their toes. Those days are gone. Craig Findlay and his team manage billions of client assets, across three states, and he was the branch manager. And yet he was expendable because of the ‘what if’ legal theory that former fired advisors could sue the firm based on how they treated Mr. Findlay.
Do you really believe that? Aren’t advisor HR files confidential? Couldn’t a reasonable disciplinary action been taken and ‘sealed’? Of course it could have.
And who are these former advisors awash in extra cash craving another day in court with a multi-billion dollar global investment bank like UBS? Really?
Get your own securities lawyer. Do it sooner than later..