Daniel A. Nathan

Daniel A. Nathan

Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Lying to Examiners Can Lead Quickly to Criminal Charges

Hell hath no fury like a regulator (allegedly) lied to. This week, the SEC brought civil charges, and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York brought criminal charges, against a broker-dealer and its founder...more

8/14/2014 - Books & Records Broker-Dealer Criminal Prosecution Falsified Documents Lying SEC

Additional Fees on Securities Transactions – FINRA Sees No Justification

In an area of broker-dealer practices with relatively little guidance—the appropriate level of commissions or mark ups on securities trades—FINRA recently brought another in a series of cases that provides insight into the...more

7/30/2014 - Broker-Dealer Disclosure Requirements FINRA NASD Sales Commissions Securities Stock Trades Transaction Fees

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update -- June 2014

In This Issue: - Regulation ..SEC Begins to Scrutinize Registrants’ Cybersecurity Practices ..SEC Staff Sets Boundaries for Adviser Testimonials in Social Media ..Chair White: SEC to Tackle High-Frequency...more

6/16/2014 - Broker-Dealer Cybersecurity Dark Pool FINRA High Frequency Trading Investment Adviser Issuers JOBS Act Legislative Agendas Marijuana New Legislation Private Equity Funds SEC SEC Commissioner SIFIs Transaction Fees

Pre-IPO Selling Procedures Need to Be Adequately Supervised, According to FINRA

Broker-dealers selling interests in IPOs need to have adequate supervisory systems to ensure that registered representatives do not make actual sales before the securities are registered, according to a settlement of a formal...more

5/9/2014 - Anti-Spinning Provisions Broker-Dealer Due Diligence FINRA IPO Registration Section 5 Securities

FINRA Board of Governors Invalidates Class Action Waivers in Customer Account Agreements

In an April 24th ruling that will have widespread impact among financial institutions, the FINRA Board of Governors held that a broker-dealer violated FINRA rules by including a mandatory class action waiver in its customer...more

4/30/2014 - Broker-Dealer Charles Schwab Class Action Arbitration Waivers Federal Arbitration Act FINRA

Securities Regulators Are Inspired by an Academic Article to Seek Information Regarding Order Routing

Apparently attempting to understand how broker-dealers provide best execution in the face of incentives to trade at certain exchanges, the SEC and FINRA are asking broker-dealers for extensive transaction information...more

4/29/2014 - Broker-Dealer FINRA Rebates SEC Section 17(a) Stock Trades Transaction Fees

A Blast from the Past: The SEC Fines Investment Adviser/Broker-Dealer for Breakpoint Violations

In a case reminiscent of the “breakpoint” enforcement actions brought 10 years ago by securities regulators, the SEC recently found that a registered investment adviser and broker-dealer overcharged clients because it...more

4/11/2014 - Broker-Dealer Enforcement Actions Fees Investment Adviser SEC

FINRA Focuses AML Enforcement on a BD Doing Business in Mexico

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently took formal disciplinary action against a New York-based broker-dealer that is affiliated with a Mexican broker-dealer and a Mexican bank for inadequate anti-money...more

2/7/2014 - Anti-Money Laundering Broker-Dealer FINRA Foreign Banks Mexico

Private Company M&A Brokers Don’t Need to Register With the SEC as Broker-Dealers

On January 31, 2014, the SEC issued a ground-breaking no-action letter, taking the position that a financial intermediary that limits its business activity to advising privately held companies in M&A transactions need not...more

2/7/2014 - Broker-Dealer No-Action Letters Registration SEC

New FINRA Supervision Rules Impact Broker-Dealers’ Insider Trading Procedures and Supervisory Controls

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rules require member firms to establish and maintain a system of written procedures to supervise the activities of its members. On December 23, 2013, the SEC approved new FINRA...more

1/30/2014 - Broker-Dealer Compliance FINRA Insider Trading SEC Stocks

Broker-Dealer Cybersecurity: Protect Yourself or Pay the Price

In its recently issued 2014 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter, FINRA stated that cybersecurity remains a priority given the ongoing cybersecurity issues reported across the financial services industry, including...more

1/13/2014 - Broker-Dealer Critical Infrastructure Sectors Cybersecurity Data Protection FINRA Regulation S-P

A Must Read: FINRA’s 2014 Exam Priorities

FINRA did not wait for any dust (or snow) to settle on the New Year before alerting the brokerage industry and the public about its regulatory and examination priorities for 2014. This year’s letter, issued earlier than ever...more

1/6/2014 - Algorithmic Trading Anti-Money Laundering Broker-Dealer Compliance Conflicts of Interest Crowdfunding Employer Liability Issues Enforcement FINRA High Frequency Trading Qualified Benefit Plans Recidivism

Retirement Funds Rollovers: FINRA Ends 2013 By Identifying Its First 2014 Priority

It is the end of the year, and many people are thinking about the status of their retirement accounts and planning any changes to their investments. FINRA also has retirement accounts on the brain. It is thinking about the...more

1/2/2014 - 401k Broker-Dealer FINRA IRA Retirement

SEC Intensifies Scrutiny of Fee-Based Accounts and Reverse Churning

The SEC is crunching a lot of data these days, and it apparently intends to use some of that data to identify “reverse churning.” Reverse churning is the practice of placing a client who trades infrequently in a fee-based,...more

12/23/2013 - Broker-Dealer Brokers Chief Compliance Officers Churning Compliance FINRA SEC

FINRA Reiterates Its Concern about Unsuitable Sales of Non-Traditional ETFs

FINRA recently announced a disciplinary proceeding that underscores its continuing concerns about unsuitable retail sales of structured products. In a recently settled formal disciplinary proceeding, FINRA censured a...more

12/6/2013 - Broker-Dealer ETFs FINRA Sales

Broker-Dealer Registration Issues Associated with Development Projects under the EB-5 Program

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (the “EB-5 Program”) administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been a significant source of capital for various real estate and other development projects...more

11/7/2013 - Broker-Dealer Compliance EB-5 Enforcement Limited Partnerships SEC USCIS

FINRA Tells Broker-Dealers How to Better Manage Conflicts of Interest

A much-anticipated FINRA report concludes that broker-dealers must do more to manage conflicts of interest. FINRA said that the report, published on October 14, 2013, highlights “effective conflicts management...more

10/17/2013 - Broker-Dealer Conflicts of Interest FINRA

When Legal or Compliance Personnel May Be Subject to Failure to Supervise Liability Under the Securities Laws

The SEC has provided some much-needed clarity on the issue of when broker-dealer compliance or legal personnel may be considered to be supervisors. On September 30, 2013, the Division of Trading and Markets (the “Division”)...more

10/11/2013 - Broker-Dealer Chief Compliance Officers Compliance Corporate Counsel SEC Securities Exchange Act Supervisors

The Impact of the SEC’s Final Rules on General Solicitation and Bad Actor Disqualification for Broker-Dealers and Investment...

The SEC recently finalized amendments to Rule 506 of Regulation D and Rule 144A under the Securities Act relaxing prohibitions against general solicitation in certain private offerings of securities implementing Section...more

9/12/2013 - Bad Actors Broker-Dealer Dodd-Frank FINRA General Solicitation Investment Adviser JOBS Act SEC

PCAOB’s Report on Broker-Dealer Audit Deficiencies Points the Way for BDs to Improve Their Financial Reporting and Compliance

PCAOB’S MISSION - For two years, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has been reviewing the work of auditors of broker-dealers, with a view to assessing their work and enabling the PCAOB to develop a...more

8/27/2013 - Audits Broker-Dealer Compliance GAAP PCAOB Reporting Requirements

SEC Delays Effectiveness of Large Trader Reporting for Some Broker-Dealers

The SEC’s “large trader” rules that apply to clearing firms and certain other firms will kick in this November. Thanks to a recent SEC release, some firms are getting a two-year compliance reprieve, but they must develop the...more

8/16/2013 - Broker-Dealer Compliance Delays Enforcement Filing Requirements Larger Participant New Regulations NMS Plan Reporting Requirements SEC

SEC to Broker-Dealers: More Oversight, Fewer Madoffs?

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a Final Rule last week amending certain annual reporting, audit, and notification requirements for broker-dealers in the broker-dealer reporting rule (Rule 17a-5) and the...more

8/8/2013 - Audits Bernie Madoff Broker-Dealer Dodd-Frank Fraud PCAOB SEC

Please Mr. Postman: FINRA Cracks Down on Late Prospectus Delivery

FINRA has been engaged in a “stealth sweep” of firms’ untimely deliveries of mutual fund and ETF prospectuses that has resulted in formal disciplinary proceedings against twelve firms since 2011, and a total of over $5...more

7/30/2013 - Broker-Dealer ETFs FINRA Mutual Funds Notice Requirements Prospectus Securities Act of 1933

FINRA Issues Sweep Letter Regarding Use of Social Media

FINRA, having enacted new communications rules that specifically reference electronic communications, having issued two Regulatory Notices (linked here and here) providing guidance to the securities industry on social media,...more

6/20/2013 - Broker-Dealer FINRA Social Media Sweep Letter

Broker-Dealer Email Systems Must Keep Pace with Firm Growth, FINRA Says

A recent FINRA disciplinary action sends a strong message to broker-dealers that the development of their compliance systems — particularly with respect to email review and retention — must keep pace with the growth of their...more

5/29/2013 - Broker-Dealer Discovery Email FINRA Recordkeeping Requirements Sanctions Supervision

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