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Compliance Concepts

A Broker's Impatience and Need for Instantaneous Gratification

July 23, 2020

[Photo:  Patrick Love Blog / Wordpress


by Howard Haykin


What’s with Millennials – aka ‘Generation Y’ – who can be impatient and in need of instantaneous gratification? As customers of, they utilize the firm's free trading platform and readily-available margin credit to pile into Tesla shares and to trade equity options – often without fully understanding what drives the respective markets. And then there was the young ‘fast-track’ broker with Waddell & Reed, who had a job promotion in his sights.



The only thing that stood between the broker and his promotion was the General Securities Principal (Series 24) qualification exam - He had taken the test once without passing, and was worried about the consequences of failing again.


So, on test day, the broker brought to the testing center some 18 pages from a commercial study guide for the test, and hid those pages in a bathroom stall, inside a dispenser for toilet seat covers. One hour into the exam, the broker took an unscheduled break and visited the restroom for 7 minutes. Another hour later, he took a 2nd unscheduled break – this time for 4 minutes - before returning to the testing center. The broker’s breaks aroused a proctor's suspicions. She searched the restroom, discovered the study materials, and confiscated them.


Though he apparently received a passing grade for the Series 24 examination, the broker was soon out of the industry - having been fired from his job and given an 18-month suspension.



HOW DOES ONE MEASURE SUCCESS.    Often, by successive advancements in a series of jobs throughout one’s career. However, the young broker in this case, who entered the securities industry in 2015, only saw as far as his immediate position. His short-sightedness led to cheating and ultimately to an end of a financial services career.



[For further details, click on … FINRA Case #2019064078501.]