“Wolf of Wall Street” may have just been a movie about out-of-control brokers, but most of the action portrayed on the screen — stripper parties, dwarf tossing, cocaine binges and defrauding investors — happened in real life at the now-defunct firm Stratton Oakmont.
Yet none of the brokers who worked at the notorious boiler room have been barred from the industry under a program set up by Wall Street’s self-regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, reports the Wall Street Journal.
One of the firm’s more colourful brokers, Christopher Veale, has been hit with 10 customer complaints, four regulatory actions, a 45-day suspension and was admonished for the “unethical and unscrupulous” way he handled the accounts of an 81-year-old investor since leaving Stratton Oakmont, reports the WSJ. Yet Veale is not among the 131 brokers who’ve been barred as part of FinRA’s “High Risk Broker” program which is intended to target brokers with a history of disciplinary problems and a “legacy of being associated with risky firms,” according to a spokeswoman.
The watchdog’s head of regulatory operations, Susan Axelrod, told the Journal that just because a broker worked for a problem firm like Stratton Oakmont doesn’t mean that “they’re necessarily a bad actor or guilty of anything.”
The movie was based on a 2007 memoir by the firm’s co-founder and chairman, Jordan Belfort, who was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie. One of his fellow executives, Danny Porush, who was played by Jonah Hill in “Wolf of Wall Street,” later disputed some of the more debauched antics portrayed in the film. He told Mother Jones that “we never abused [or threw] the midgets in the office; we were friendly to them.”