Daniel A. Nathan

Daniel A. Nathan

Morrison & Foerster LLP

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SEC and PCAOB Combine Their Focusses on Broker-Dealer Audits and Independence in Settlements with Fifteen Audit Firms

On December 8, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced settlements with fifteen audit firms for violating independence rules applicable to auditors of...more

12/15/2014 - Auditors Audits Broker-Dealer Independence Rules PCAOB SEC

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update -- December 2014

In This Issue: - Regulation ..SEC Chair’s Agenda Provides Glimpse of New Rules to Come ..The Results Are In: Investors Favor Additional Regulatory Protection ..SEC Declines to Approve Non-Transparent...more

12/11/2014 - Alternative Mutual Funds Broker-Dealer Disclosure Requirements ETFs Exchange-Traded Products Investment Management Referral Fees SEC

Heightened Supervision of Branch Offices — Tips for the Coming Year

In recent years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have heightened their expectations of what constitutes a “comprehensive” branch self-inspection program. Firms...more

12/5/2014 - Audits Broker-Dealer Enforcement FINRA Internal Controls OCIE Risk Assessment SEC

Structured Thoughts: Volume 5, Issue 8 - December 2014

In This Issue: - Key Regulators Speak at Structured Products Conference - FINRA Shows Its CARDS; It Will Use Big Data to Review Suitability of Complex Products Sales - FINRA’s Proposed Bond Mark-up...more

12/2/2014 - Advertising Big Data Broker-Dealer CARDS Disclosure Requirements Exchange-Traded Products FINRA Regulatory Agenda Regulatory Standards SEC Structured Financial Products

SEC Staff Finds that Broker-Dealers Still Are Not Conducting Adequate Section 5 Reviews

The staff of the SEC recently addressed broker-dealers’ obligations when engaging in transactions in unregistered securities by issuing FAQs and a Risk Alert that reported the results of examinations of a number of...more

10/22/2014 - Anti-Money Laundering Broker-Dealer Compliance SEC Securities Act of 1933 Unregistered Securities

Takeaways From Broker-Dealers’ Section 5 Inadequacies

The staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently addressed broker-dealers’ obligations when they engage in transactions in unregistered securities by issuing FAQs and a risk alert that reported the results of...more

10/22/2014 - Anti-Money Laundering Broker-Dealer Compliance Fraud Market Manipulation SEC Unregistered Securities

SEC Charges Broker-Dealer for Failure to Protect Against Insider Trading by Employees

The Securities and Exchange Commission for the first time brought charges against a broker-dealer for failure to adequately protect against insider trading by its employees. The charges stem from a broker’s use of a...more

10/1/2014 - Broker-Dealer Confidential Information Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions Insider Trading Investment Adviser Policies and Procedures SEC

Ninth Circuit Brookstreet Decision Upholds Control Person Liability

The Ninth Circuit recently found the principal of a broker-dealer liable for the extensive and aggravated sales practice violations of the firm’s registered representatives. In its unpublished decision (not to be cited as...more

9/9/2014 - Broker-Dealer Professional Liability SEC Summary Judgment

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

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