A federal judge in Orlando, Fla., has permanently barred Richard Goble, president of a defunct clearing firm and a FINRA critic, from the securities industry and ordered him to pay a fine of $7,500.

U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven said that Goble was guilty of engaging in an improper transaction to keep his clearing firm afloat. The firm, North American Clearing, was shut down by the Securites and Exchange Commission in May 2008. At one point it had about 40 small broker-dealer clients and cleared transactions for 10,000 customer accounts valued at more than $500 million.

The firm's financial woes began in 2007 when a large client departed and it lost more than $7 million with customer transactions in a penny stock-company. North American Clearing was based in Longwood, Fla.

According to Judge Scriven, Goble did a "sham" sale in May 2008, involving $5 million of money placed by customers in money market funds. Goble wired $3.4 million to his firm's account to pay for operating expenses.

The SEC, which spearheaded the case, had been seeking a fine of $130,000 during a bench trial Scriven held for Goble in May 2010.

Goble co-founded the Financial Industry Association, which tried to run independent candidates for the board and district committees of FINRA.

In 2006, when the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers were merging their regulatory structures to create FINRA, the FIA called for the resignation of Mary Schapiro, who was then chief executive officer of NASD, on the grounds the merger would tilt the composition of the new board in favor of membership by executives at large brokerage firms.

Goble did win a seat on FINRA's board, however, in 2007. He resigned in 2008.


Millionaire Confidence Sinks: Spectrem Group

Millionaire investor confidence sunk to its lowest level in seven months in April.

According to Spectrem Group, its Millionaire Investor Confidence Index fell nine points in April to minus-one, a neutral reading and the index's lowest level since September, when the index stood at minus-six. This marks the second consecutive monthly decline for the index, following an identical nine-point decline in March.

Meanwhile, the Spectrem Affluent Investor Confidence Index, which measures the investment confidence and outlook of households with $500,000 or more in investable assets, fell eight points in April to minus-seven, also a neutral reading.

"Millionaires' investment confidence fell for a second-straight month in April, suggesting some level of concern about the strength of the economic recovery," said George H. Walper, president of Spectrem Group. "This decline brought millionaires' confidence to its lowest level since September 2010, as optimism among the broader affluent population also fell. Millionaires and the affluent both expressed concern about the economy and stock market conditions in April, with retirement also ranking as a key factor affecting their investment plans."

Asked what is the one factor most affecting their investment plans, affluent investors in April cited: the economic environment (24%); stock market conditions (22%); household income (12%); retirement (7%); housing and real estate (4%); and the political climate (1%). MME



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“You would think, by watching TV or listening to people ranting, that inflation expectations are out of control.”

- Dan Greenhaus

Chief Economic Strategist

Miller Tabak & Co.

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