It’s common knowledge that the law can be a complex topic. But understanding it in theory often pales in comparison to seeing that reality in action. This is highlighted by a recent case involving Brian McDonough and Sands Brothers & Co. McDonough had won the case and the ruling stated that he was entitled to more than half a million dollars as a result. However, being legally entitled to that money is a somewhat different thing than actually having it in hand. They were also in the process of working with other legal issues, any of which might further deplete their available funds. This resulted in an offer of a lesser settlement for McDonough. Many months later he was finally able to receive the full amount he was due, $664,217.
However, someone with less understanding of legal matters and finance might not have been so lucky. People on the outside often take implied situations or intentional vagaries of language at face value. While trained legal professionals are able to read between the lines. But sometimes an education on the subject will also create overly pessimistic worries which have little chance of actually occurring. In the case of Sands Brothers & Co. people have some concern that existing assets might be funneled to another brokerage dealer. This would allow them to honestly state lack of existing funds. In this instance the primary concern revolves around assets being moved to Laidlaw & Company.
With any subjective matter it’s important to go with personal feelings. And I can say that this necessitates balancing factual assessment and emotional experience judging character. On a factual level, I think that current NASD regulations speak for themselves. These regulations are in place to prevent any firm from transferring more than 25% of their assets for any reason. And given that the nature of the legal proceedings it seems quite improbable that they’d risk even that. Let alone going over that amount. But additionally there’s the character of Laidlaw & Company to consider.
I think it’s fair to say that people can often get a good sense of a company’s policies and ethical positions by how the people at the top present themselves. In the case of Laidlaw & Company, Matthew Eitner and James Ahern go above and beyond to establish their presence within the site. Information about them, even pictures of them, are readily available. It’s clear that they take pride in their company and want to both associate themselves with it, and the company with their own image. To me, there’s few things that say more about a company than honest people at the top who take pride in their ethics and responsibilities.
The concerns that Laidlaw & Company might be a successor are an understandable mistake based on some naming similarities in the past. It’s an easy mistake to make, given that they were formally called Sands Brothers International Ltd. I’ve found that coincidences usually don’t serve as very good material to base decisions on though. People who look at the companies presentation and reputation will see that Laidlaw & Company is a solid and ethical group with a pristine history.