The financial industry self-regulator, FINRA, issued a new regulatory notice today aimed at broker-dealers with departing brokers. The notice was intended to urge broker-dealers to be more clear and forthright with customers about departing brokers and what will happen to the customers’ accounts. If you’ve ever been in the situation where your broker has either left for another firm, left the industry, or passed away, you understand just how confusing things can get when it comes to who will be handling your investments and why.
In many cases, the operators of financial frauds and Ponzi Schemes the world over rely on people who have already been duped to bring in new suckers. Of course, the ones touting the services of a particular fraudster have no idea they’ve not only been deceived, but that they are helping weave an even larger web of deception. While it’s appealing to let others pick your advisor for you, the best thing to do is ‘trust but verify’ all financial opportunities.
The FDA announced that in the future it would be looking more closely at a range of medical devices and products — along with the materials they’re made from — that have caused the most trouble for consumers in recent years. The agency singled out breast implants, metal-on-metal hip replacement systems, and the components of birth control implant system Essure. Most strikingly, the announcement targeted not just the final products manufactured by medical device companies, but the materials they used to make the products.
For decades, leaders of the Roman Catholic dioceses of New Jersey remained silent on allegations of abuse by clergy members. But this month, the truth will out. Five archdioceses in New Jersey have begun to divulge information related to abuses that stretch back nearly one hundred years. They are finally naming names.
The FDA is the government agency responsible for making sure that the food and drugs sold to us and that ultimately go into our bodies are safe. They conduct their own independent testing on thousands of new food and drug products everywhere. What the FDA does not test, however, is the tech that goes into our bodies. Specifically, the FDA does not test the medical device implant technology that is becoming more and more a part of our lives — and our bodies.
The recent changeover in state attorney generals will not interrupt ongoing investigations into clergy abuse in Roman Catholic dioceses around the country. Offices in New York, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, and Delaware which will be lead by new AGs have also reported some of the highest levels priest abuse. And at least 14 attorney generals around the country have confirmed that they are conducting investigations into clergy abuse in their states in the wake of Pennsylvania’s shocking grand jury report, which made international headlines this summer.
FINRA is far from a shadowy regulatory agency. They do their best to find themselves in the public eye, if only to keep investors informed on current regulations and scams. They also keep an exhaustive database of the professional records of all registered broker-dealers and financial advisors; the database is online and searchable. FINRA’s BrokerCheck is a mighty tool for investors seeking to learn more about their advisors; it’s one of many tools and rules that investors can use to protect themselves against fraud and malfeasance.
While Pennsylvania is still reeling from the findings of the grand jury report into priest sexual abuse throughout the state, Catholic dioceses in other states, including most recently New Jersey, have been conducting their own internal investigations. The latest story involves a list of ten priests who spent their careers in Jesuit schools of New Jersey who have been “credibly” accused of sexual abuse. The list was compiled and released by the USA Northeast Province Jesuits, an organization that represents the Roman Catholic order of priests in north Jersey and several other states.
A recent report by the Pennsylvania Office of the State Inspector General has delivered sharp criticism of how agencies at the county level handle thousands of complaints about elder abuse and how the state supervises investigations into these complaints. It is the state’s duty to ensure that such investigations are reasonable and thorough.
The last few months have been a difficult time for many investors. The stock market has taken a major dive, closing out 2018 with the worst performing December since The Great Depression. With so much volatility, it’s crucial that investors have a carefully planned portfolio with an adequate amount of diversification. Above all, that portfolio should match the individual investors risk tolerance and investment objectives. That match must be valid from the day it was made until today. A portfolio that worked for an individual investor in a bull market may be a terrible match for that same person in a bear market.
After an initial golden age of promise, the medical implant industry has suffered a sharp backlash in recent years. Numerous implant systems and technologies have either failed to perform as promised or done more harm than good — some have even killed people. As recipients of these faulty devices have gone to the press or to court, the reputation of the medical implant industry has been dragged through the mud and then some.
Recently, Zimmer’s M/L taper hip with Kinectiv and Versys head has been the subject of product liability and personal injury litigation. Like similar hip implant systems from Wright, Johnson & Johnson, and Stryker, the Zimmer system has allegedly caused metallosis in some patients. So far, more than twenty lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer.
We may never forget Madoff’s crimes. Let’s hope we don’t. And yet, investors still fall prey to so-called “mini-Madoffs” every day all over the country. If you keep your eye on the financial press, particularly news from regulators such as the SEC or FINFRA, Ponzi schemes identical in nature and structure — if not scope — to Madoff’s bubble up and burst too often to keep track.
An investor gets introduced by mutual friends to a financial professional who almost immediately begins pitching the investor on an amazing opportunity. Because the investment professional seems like a good guy or gal, and because he or she was introduced by someone the investor already knows and trusts, the investor unconsciously transfers that sense of trust to the broker or hedge fund manager or mutual fund whiz. The investor’s guard is already down. What happens next?
The Catholic Church continues to deal with the fallout from this summer’s shocking grand jury investigation into allegations of rampant sexual abuse by clergy members in several dioceses throughout Pennsylvania. In the latest update, two survivors of alleged child sexual abuse have sued the Philadelphia Archdiocese in order to obtain records of misconduct by priests, along with their work histories.
The Philadelphia Diocese of the Catholic Church has announced that it has created a compensation fund for victims of clergy sexual abuse. The new reparations plan, announced yesterday, will be called the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations program, and will be run by a team responsible for a similar fund in New York.