Stepping Into the Ring Against the SEC and FINRA: Sometimes It Pays to Duke It Out Against the Regulators

Originally published in Thomson Reuters - Securities Regulation Law Journal - Winter 2012.

Faced with the possibility of litigating against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many broker-dealer firms, registered representatives, and associated persons choose to settle rather than step into the ring against the regulators on their home turf under their rules, with their considerable resources, their home-town scoring judges (or refs, if you prefer), and their weighty reputations and impressive win-loss records. Settlement is often attractive because it provides closure and allows the subject of the investigation to avoid the uncertainty of fighting the regulators. But the results of this study — which analyzes litigated enforcement cases from October 2010 through March 20122 (the “Study Period”) where firms and individuals were charged with violating SEC and FINRA statutes, rules and regulations - demonstrate that, in certain circumstances, the underdog still can prevail.

Methodology -

Fear is the greatest obstacle to learning in any area, but particularly in boxing. For example, boxing is something you learn through repetition. You do it over and over and suddenly you've got it. . . ..However, in the course of trying to learn, if you get hit and get hurt, this makes you cautious, and when you're cautious you can't repeat it, and when you can't repeat it, it's going to delay the learning process.

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