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FINRA in 2015 – Wealth Events

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, Investment Adviser Regulation, Uncategorized

FINRA’s 2015 Regulatory and Examinations Priorities Letter provides guidance regarding areas of focus in the “Sales Practice” for this year.  Previously, we discussed the various sales products that FINRA will be monitoring this year; and yesterday, Josh Horn discussed FINRA’s recently adopted Supervision Rules that affect the Sales Practice.  This blog entry will discuss FINRA’s focus… Continue Reading

FINRA in 2015 – Sales Products

Posted in Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, Investment Adviser Regulation, Uncategorized

Earlier this month, FINRA released its 2015 Regulatory and Examinations Priorities Letter.  In the letter, FINRA lays out its 2015 priorities, which focus on three general areas: 1) Sales Practice; 2) Financial and Operational Priorities; and 3) Market Integrity.  This blog entry will discuss FINRA’s “Sales Practice” priority. FINRA is focused on various sales products… Continue Reading

Whistleblower Tips Continue to Rise in 2014

Posted in Compliance and Supervision, Dodd-Frank, Financial Industry Trends, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, SEC Compliance, SEC Enforcement, Uncategorized

The number of whistleblower tips to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to rise, according to the SEC’s 2014 Annual Report to Congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program.  In the November 17, 2014 report, Sean X. McKessy, Chief, Office of the Whistleblower, notes that his office received 3,620 whistleblower tips in Fiscal Year 2014,… Continue Reading

Reverse-Flash: SEC and FINRA Looking to Slow High-Speed Traders?

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, SEC Compliance, SEC Enforcement, Uncategorized

High-frequency trading is the latest craze hitting the market.  Popularized by Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys, high-frequency or high-speed trading involves the use of sophisticated technological tools and computer algorithms to rapidly trade securities.  According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, high-frequency trading has been “blamed for making stock exchanges less transparent and markets more volatile [and] has disrupted the process… Continue Reading

So Who Really Thinks They Know Their Customers

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Financial Industry Trends, FINRA Compliance, Registered Representatives, Uncategorized

As the year winds down to an end, financial advisors should be mindful of next year and the years to come.  Now is as good a time as any to make sure that you know your customer.  The year-end gives you a unique opportunity to get in front of your clients and revisit the year… Continue Reading

Forget Including A Bar Of Whistleblower Tips In Settlement Agreements

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, Public Customer Arbitrations, Registered Representatives, Uncategorized, Whistleblowers

FINRA recently warned that firms could face disciplinary action if they enter into settlement agreements that bar customers or former employees from reporting wrongdoing at the firm.  Although FINRA recognized that confidentiality provisions were acceptable, it noted that they have to be written in such a way to authorize the individual to contact FINRA or… Continue Reading

What Do FINRA’s Enforcement Statistics Mean

Posted in Broker-Dealer Regulation, FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, Registered Representatives, Uncategorized

At the halfway point of the year, the Sutherland Asbill firm has issued its report on FINRA’s fines to date.  That report reflects that, although fines are on a record pace this year, the number of actions by FINRA is behind pace.  So what does this mean?  The first step is to look at the… Continue Reading

Expunge Me, No Expunge You

Posted in Arbitration, Broker-Dealer Regulation, Expungement, FINRA CRD, Uncategorized

FINRA recently put into place the highly publicized prohibition of making a settlement contingent upon a registered representative having the subject arbitration expunged from the representatives U-4.  Is this a good thing?  The claimants’ bar thinks this is a good thing because it will prevent bad apples from having their records cleaned.  This position seems… Continue Reading

Should You Even Care About A Uniform Fiduciary Duty

Posted in Arbitration, Broker-Dealer Regulation, Compliance and Supervision, Dodd-Frank, FINRA Compliance, SEC Compliance, Uncategorized

In an Investment News article written by Mark Schoeff, he reported that the push for a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers and investment advisors has become a bit stagnant. In fact, it was reported that the prospects for such a uniform rules have waned over the years notwithstanding the general consensus that there should be such a… Continue Reading

So Just How Fast Is Too Fast

Posted in Uncategorized

SEC Chair Mary Jo White recently announced a broad program to get high frequency trading under control.  Under the plan, entities that engaged in high frequency trading will have to register with the SEC.  The rationale for this new plan is to promote greater transparency in the markets.  The SEC’s agenda could ultimately impact the… Continue Reading

Data breaches and third-party vendors; what do you need to know.

Posted in FINRA Compliance, SEC Compliance, Securities Fraud, Securities Litigation, Uncategorized

I recently blogged about the pervasive nature of data breaches and the particular risks presented to this industry.  Many firms may think that they are secure because they used a vendor to build a secure environment, but history tells us that is not the case.  Cyber-attacks do not always come from a direct hit, but… Continue Reading

Suspicious Activity Reports, FCMs and IBs, Is That A Marriage Made In Heaven

Posted in CFTC Compliance, Compliance and Supervision, Money Laundering, Uncategorized

Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) have been a useful tool for financial institutions to report financial fraud while, at the same time, prohibiting the reporting institution from disclosing the existence of a SARs in response to a third-party request.  In 2010, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), amended this regulation to extend the prohibition against disclosure… Continue Reading

Trading and Markets Focus on Broker Registration

Posted in Uncategorized

The Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Trading and Markets is continuing to focus on broker-dealer registration issues in the private fund area. For example, the Staff is focusing on private fund advisers receiving transaction-based compensation for purported investment banking or other broker activities relating to one or more of the funds’ portfolio companies.  The… Continue Reading

FINRA’s Private Placement Concerns

Posted in FINRA Compliance, FINRA Enforcement, Private Placements, Uncategorized

FINRA is beginning investigations into private placements.  New FINRA Rule 5123 requires member firms involved in a private stock offerings to provide investors with detailed information on the transaction prior to the sale, and to file that information with FIRNA within 15 days after the first sale. The rule went into effect in December 2012.… Continue Reading

Guess Who Is Watching Your Private Placements

Posted in Uncategorized

The dog-days of summer certainly did not apply to FINRA when it initiated eight disciplinary proceedings against member firms and registered representatives over private placements.  This heightened interest should serve as a warning to all broker-dealers to ensure that their house is in order before permitting private placements through the firm.  Unfortunately, the regulatory scheme… Continue Reading

Apply To Showcase Your Company at This Year’s IMPACT Venture Summit

Posted in Uncategorized

As the host of IMPACT 2013 Venture Summit, Fox invites you or your clients in the technology, healthcare or early stage sectors to be a featured company during the Mid-Atlantic’s premiere venture capital conference. Featured companies receive the exclusive opportunity to deliver a 10-minute presentation to prominent investors. Past featured companies include The Neat Company,… Continue Reading

Investors, Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders: Save the Date for Fox’s Own, Michael Harrington, at IMPACT 2013 Venture Summit!

Posted in Uncategorized

Fox Rothschild is proud to be the host sponsor of IMPACT 2013 Venture Summit – the most established venture summit in the Northeast. This year’s conference will be held October 22 and 23 at the Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia and Crystal Tea Room.  As the premiere event of the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), IMPACT… Continue Reading

Guess Who Was Late To The Party; The SEC.

Posted in Uncategorized

The SEC found out what it means to sit on its rights when the United State Supreme Court recently concluded that the SEC was untimely in its effort to seek civil penalties. The Supreme Court in Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that the five year clock in which the SEC had to bring… Continue Reading