Jeanne Smith is an Affiliate Expert with Bates Group based in California. She has been in the securities and financial services industry for over 30 years and has extensive experience as a corporate manager and compliance supervisor at both the Complex and Regional levels, having worked at Goldman Sachs, Salomon Brothers and, for the past 18 years (1995-2013), Merrill Lynch.
Ms. Smith’s years as both Administrative and Business Manager include supervision of financial advisors, operational and support personnel, and other managers. As such, she has background and specific experience in approving option trading suitability, insurance and annuity products, equities, mutual funds, and muni and corporate bonds. Her responsibilities included reviewing active client accounts, option exposure reporting and naked option levels (including the approval of any increases), concentration levels, daily trading, margin and collateral calls, 10b5-1 executions, new issue share allocations, approval of errors and trade corrections, and employee outside interests.
Additionally, Ms. Smith has investigated and uncovered instances of employee and client wrong-doing, including mortgage fraud, theft of client funds, improper movement of funds between unrelated client accounts, embezzlement (clients’ theft of their firm’s publicly traded stock and subsequent deposit at the broker/dealer), conspiracy related to theft of US Treasury checks (with deposits made at the firm using false and/or forged identification), and unauthorized discretionary trading. These situations have resulted in her working, at various times, alongside agents of the Secret Service (US Treasury), FBI, and local law enforcement agencies.
Ms. Smith founded WASL Consulting LLC in 2013 and provides expert witness services related to securities arbitration and litigation. In this role, she assists clients, claimants, respondents, and counsel in formulating strategy and leveraging the facts to best present a case to the arbitration panel or mediator. She has the experience, commitment, and resources necessary to provide objective expert witness opinions related to suitability issues and standard of care in the securities industry. Additionally, her background and expertise will assist in determining case presentation strategies that will assist an arbitration panel as they seek to clarify the pertinent issues at hand.
Ms. Smith has testified in approximately 25 arbitrations as corporate representative. Cases requiring her testimony included failure to hedge, failure to supervise, unauthorized trading, and claims of investment unsuitability (including products such as equities, bonds, and annuities). She has also testified (and/or assisted in settling) matters related to unpaid prom notes, recruiting violations of the protocol, U-5 language disputes, and other employee-related matters.
Familiar with the issues related to facilitating a positive outcome at hearing, she has a strong understanding of the discovery process, case strategies, and settlement values. Exceptional communication skills make her not only an outstanding witness at hearing, able to produce demonstrative trial exhibits, but also create tightly-written expert reports, defining the issues and illustrating the weaknesses of the opposing party’s case, thereby helping to facilitate a favorable settlement.
Over the course of her career Ms. Smith has supervised support staff personnel, financial advisors, and other managers. She has five securities licenses, including a supervisor’s license, is a FINRA neutral arbitrator, an NFA arbitrator, and was a member of FINRA’s Series 7 Writing Committee for two years.
Bates Group, Affiliate Expert, March 2014 - Present
WASL Consulting LLC, Owner, July 2013 - Present
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Vice President, Business Development Manager, South Atlantic Market, June 2011 - February 2013
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Vice President, Regional Business Manager, Mid-South Region, August 2006 - June 2011
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Vice President, Business Manager (formerly VP, Administrative Manager), West LA Complex, February 2005 - August 2006
Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., Various Administrative Management Positions, June 1995 - February 2005
Westwood One, Inc., Investor Relations Coordinator, March 1992 - June 1995
Salomon Brothers, Inc., Real Estate Financial Administrator, July 1988 - March 1992
Goldman Sachs & Co., Investment Banking Administrator, January 1987 - July 1988
Wharton School/University of Pennsylvania, Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Leadership Program, 2003
Pasadena City College, Classes in Business and Finance
Arizona State University, Business Major
Series 7, Series 63 (1996)
Series 65, Series 3 (1997)
Series 8 (1998)
Certified Financial Manager (2000)
California Real Estate Sales License (1990)
Georgia Real Estate Sales License (2015)
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