I was reading info re: PFG and found your website. I’ve had first-hand, in person dealings with Lauren Brinati and you may be interested in knowing more….
First, a brief background…..
I was first registered with the NFA in 1981….not long after they were formed. Thru many years of dealings with them (as an AP and then as a principal of several CTA, CPO and IB firms) I found that the culture of the organization began to evolve.
They were always a pain to deal with but as time passed, they became ever more arrogant and abusive. I only write this to you now because I am no longer registered in the industry. If I was, like most others I would fear and expect retribution for voicing my experience and feelings.
In 2006, an issue arose with the NFA regarding the books of one of my pools. Long story short….the pool had expenses (belonging to the pool, not me) that the NFA forced me to show as a receivable from my CPO. In other words, the NFA forced me to pay for expenses that were not mine. This was done under my protest and was, for years, considered an “open issue” with the NFA.
In 2009, my CPO was again audited by NFA. Four staff auditors came down (to my one-man office) and were led by their audit manager, Lauren Brinati (she was just an audit manager then). Brinati walked into my office at 8am and, for two hours, proceeded to call me a thief, liar and cheat. I tried to tell her that the issue in question was from 2006 and was very much an unresolved, open issue. She refused to let me speak. You would have thought I ran over her dog….
During her endless rant, it was crystal clear that she not only did not know the facts of the case but she had no clue of NFA regs. Still, ignorance did not deter her. After taking her abuse for two hours, I invited her and the staff auditors to leave my office (or I would have them removed). She left and I immediately called Dan Driskoll at NFA. I told him I would not stand for such unprofessional, outrageous and insane conduct by his employees. He told me he would remove her from the case. I later learned that she was not removed from the case, just told not to deal with me again.
The bottom line….shortly after my problem with Brinati she was PROMOTED to head of audits. Outrageous…. This only shows what I have believed true about the NFA for decades. This organization is populated with the absolute worst kind of human beings. They love using their unfettered power to accuse, verbally assault, intimidate and ultimately destroy anyone who they find in their path. In the vast majority of cases (like mine), the victims of their abuse are utterly innocent of any wrongdoing.
FYI…in almost all cases, the victims of NFA abuse are the “small shops”. Like me, such folks lack the financial resources to fight protracted and very costly legal battles in their own defense (or they simply deem it not worth the effort, expense and time). The big and financially powerful firms have the resources to keep the NFA at arms-length. Thus, the little guys get mugged in the alley while the big fish continue unchecked until things blow (like MF Global and PFG).
I never believed that in America, you could be wrongfully accused, abused and then have a figurative “gun” put to your head by regulators. After my encounter, I further learned that I had no “independent” forum to which I could appeal. In writing, I asked Driskoll to specify my rights of appeal. He sent me a letter stating that, in essence, my only choice was to not do what they ordered, allow myself to be charged and then defend myself in front of THEIR OWN tribunal.
Unbelievable…..In almost 30 years of NFA registration I never had a single charged filed against me. In fact, I never had even a single customer complaint filed for I always sought to do things the right way. My compliance record was snow white and I took great pride in that….
I believe that the rotten “culture” of the NFA is just that…..a growing “culture” or infestation that has consumed the organization. The culture was put in place by the heads of the organization a long time ago. They kept and promoted only those people who adhered to their “Gestapo” tactics, regardless of how utterly incompetent those individuals were. BTW…In the vast majority of cases, new employees work at NFA only long enough to show it on their resume. The good folks leave (often in disgust) with only the least-desirable employees being left. Those who top the “least-desirable” list are ultimately promoted…..say hello to Lauren Brinati…..
I wish you well as you continue to expose the organization for what it has become. If you wish any further information about my experience, please let me know.