The National Federation of Press Women said I’ve won its Communications Contest in the business journalism category for my stories about problems with customer account security at The Vanguard Group. You can read my stories here and here.
The brokerage industry works hard to keep customer complaints out of public view, with aggressive firms fighting to remove grievances that sully their brokers’ records. The interminable campaign to sanitize the dossier of former Royal Alliance Associates broker Kathleen J. Tarr is a disheartening case in point. You can read the story here.
Holly Marchak and her husband lost $2.3 million when they were defrauded in the Ponzi scheme of the so-called “Brooklyn Madoff.” Nine years later, she’s still paying for it.
Marchak, 62, says she takes medication for anxiety, high blood pressure, asthma and heart problems. “There are times we don’t want to wake up in the morning,” she said. “My doctor has a mile-long, thick file on me and says it’s all stress-related.”
Everybody loves a half-price sale, and if you’re a recruiter on Wall Street, there’s always a markdown on female employees.
But the revealing lawsuits that used to challenge this outrageous pay gap and economically hostile work environment to women are few and far between today – and that’s how Wall Street wants it. The country’s biggest banks have made it harder than ever for women with complaints of unequal pay or treatment to make their cases in a public forum.
Finra’s arbitrator pool has included everyone from a disgraced judge to a person who posed as a lawyer. The latest: a brokerage executive who was just fined and suspended. You can read about it here.
Twenty-three women sued Smith Barney for sexual harassment and pay discrimination in an explosive class-action lawsuit filed 20 years ago this month. It became known as the “boom-boom room” suit, named after a basement party room at Smith Barney’s branch office in Garden City, N.Y. Nearly 2,000 women joined the case, exposing the sordid antics of Wall Street’s testosterone-driven culture.
Smith Barney paid $150 million in arbitration awards and settlements in the case, and it and other Wall Street firms rushed to set up anti-harassment training, employee hotlines and programs to recruit women.
Twenty years later, permanent change is less obvious.
“You may no longer have strippers coming for afternoon entertainment, but that doesn’t mean you are treated as an equal,” said Anne C. Vladeck of the New York employment law firm Vladeck, Raskin & Clark. “It’s not quite as blatant as what went on in the boom-boom room, but it’s still there in a way that makes it very hard for women to succeed. Companies on Wall Street are just not changing.”
You can read the full story I wrote for The New York Times here.
The New York Press Club said today that I have won its 2016 award for consumer reporting on the Internet for my stories about cybersecurity problems at The Vanguard Group.
In August, eight investors were awarded $1.28 million in an arbitration against FSC Securities. But the firm hasn’t paid up and is mounting an aggressive defense. You can read about it in my latest column for TheStreet.com here.
The Society of the Silurians said today that I have won the 2016 Excellence in Journalism Award for Commentary and Editorials for my columns for TheStreet.com. From the judges:
“Watch what Wall Street does, not what it says,” Antilla enjoins her readers and, heeding her own counsel, she does just that in a string of columns, built on solid reporting and trenchant analysis, that expose the duplicitous practices unscrupulous stockbrokers employ to intentionally mislead and, ultimately, fleece their clients.
Twenty investors await a Finra arbitration hearing in September against two clearing firms that handled their trades in a penny-stock fraud. Did COR Clearing and Wilson-Davis ignore obvious red flags? You can read about it in my column today for TheStreet.com.
The New York State Society of CPAs said today that I have won the 2016 Excellence in Financial Journalism Award for my columns for TheStreet.com.
From the judges:
Susan Antilla used her solid reporting and analytical skills in “Wall Street Has a Unique Way of ‘Protecting’ Small Investors,” as she exposed Wall Street for its efforts to avoid change that could possibly improve access to stockbroker records. Throughout her research, she also called out the securities industry for its empty arguments that tougher regulations would force brokers to drop smaller investors as customers.
The Connecticut Press Club said today that I have won first place in the “Specialty Articles — Business” category in its 2016 Communications Contest for my stories about cybersecurity weaknesses at the mutual fund company The Vanguard Group.
I’m honored to have won the “Best in Business” award in the Digital Commentary category from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) for my columns for TheStreet.com in 2015.
From the judges:
Susan Antilla’s columns on underhanded Wall Street practices were a reality check about the institutional forces working against the interests of small investors at a time when more and more “regular” people navigate their own retirement planning. In another column, she explained how gains in workplace gender equity can be illusory, and how a double standard in the behavior of men and women remains.
You can see the terrific work of SABEW winners in the other categories here.
TheStreet.com submitted four of my columns from 2015 to SABEW:
When you consider that 73 percent of financial advisers who get caught engaging in misconduct are still doing business with investors a year later, you could just cross your fingers and hope your broker is one of the good ones.
Better yet, you could leaf through the grim results of a study by three finance professors released earlier this month. They looked at records of 1.2 million people registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra, to do business with the public. I wrote about the study in my latest column for TheStreet. You can read it here.
On Feb. 11, a puzzled customer of The Vanguard Group noticed that the firm had sent him 72 emails. But only one of them was meant for him.
For its latest glitch, you can read my column today.
Remember the Jamie Dimon who couldn’t complain enough about how Wall Street was “under assault” by regulators? Well, these days, he’s saying stuff like this:
I completely understand that society has a perfectly legitimate right to put in structures and regulations and rules that make it fairer, better, cleaner.
You read that right. Perfectly legitimate.
The new, reasonable CEO of JP Morgan Chase talked to Bloomberg Markets magazine on March 1 about the financial system, safety, and the future of his bank.
Before you get too choked up about his noble intentions — he stressed that customers always come first — do remember that we’re talking about a company that just admitted wrongdoing in a case where the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had failed to tell clients that it was favoring expensive, firm-managed mutual funds over cheaper alternatives.
You can read my column for TheStreet here.
On Jan. 6, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charged stockbroker Larry S. Werbel with conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, investment adviser fraud and making false statements. But regulators had been aware of Werbel’s dicey recommendations of penny stocks to clueless customers five years before that.The sordid tale is but the latest example of authorities doing too little, too late.
You can read my column for TheStreet here.