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FINRA’s Revised Sanction Guidelines: Higher, Tougher, Fairer?

FINRA’s newly revised Sanction Guidelines, effective immediately, signal that the upward trend in sanctions against broker-dealers is likely to continue. The Sanction Guidelines, which establish the range of sanctions...more

FINRA is Apparently Holding its CARDS

Broker-dealers appear to have succeeded, at least for now, in beating back FINRA’s proposal to capture extensive amounts of data through electronic means....more

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update - February 2015

In This Issue: - SEC Proposes Rule Requiring Hedging Disclosure - SEC Reports the Result of its Cybersecurity Sweep of Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers - House Passes Bill to Ease Volcker Rule and Other...more

FINRA Issues its Cybersecurity Report, Providing Tools and Encouragement to Broker-Dealers

FINRA recently issued a Report on Cybersecurity Practices (“Report”), growing out of its targeted examination of firms last year. To issue the Report, FINRA gave careful consideration to the needs of many broker-dealers for...more

Heightened Scrutiny of Brokers – SEC Approves FINRA’s Proposed Background Check Rule

In recent years, questions have been raised in many quarters about how brokers with questionable backgrounds have been able to move among firms and remain in the industry. FINRA has responded by enhancing a broker-dealer’s...more

FINRA Issues a Packed Priorities Letter for 2015

FINRA opened 2015 with a lengthy and ambitious agenda of regulatory priorities. This year’s Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter is much longer than those issued the last two years, and repeats many of those years’...more

FINRA Sanctions Member Firm for Failure to Deliver ETF Prospectuses

FINRA recently sanctioned a broker-dealer (the “Firm”) for failure to deliver prospectuses in connection with its sale of ETFs. FINRA also found that the Firm failed to implement a supervisory system reasonably designed to...more

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

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

The Results Are In: Investors Favor Additional Regulatory Protection

On November 6, 2014, FINRA released results from a survey of U.S. investors measuring the demand for additional regulatory protections. The survey polled 1,000 adults and revealed that an overwhelming majority felt that it...more

11/13/2014  /  FINRA , Investors , Regulatory Agenda , Surveys

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update -- September 2014

In This Issue: - Regulation: Long-Awaited Money Market Fund Rules Adopted - SEC Staff Offers Guidance Regarding Investment Advisers and Proxy Advisory Firms - SEC Staff Closes Loophole on BDC Asset...more

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

VA Switches: FINRA Disciplinary Action Reminds Firms About the Need for Adequate Supervisory Procedures

In a case involving unsuitable variable annuity (VA) transactions, FINRA found that having good procedures and discovering improper conduct are not enough. A member firm must also ensure that it has adequate supervisory...more

7/29/2014  /  Annuities , Brokers , FINRA , Variable Annuities

FINRA Announces and Publishes Its Sweep of Order Routing Practices

FINRA announced this week that it is conducting a review of its member firms’ order-routing processes and procedures and the execution quality of customer orders in exchange-listed stocks. We previously reported in this...more

7/10/2014  /  Brokers , FINRA , SEC , Securities , Stock Trades

FINRA Sanctions a Broker for Violating Japanese Insider Trading Law

On July 2, 2014, FINRA announced that it barred a former equity trader from the securities industry based on its finding that he violated Japanese insider trading law by trading in the securities of a Japanese company listed...more

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

SEC Decision Regarding TIC Advertisements Offers Broader Lessons About Providing Fair and Balanced Disclosures

Earlier this year, the SEC found that CapWest Securities, Inc., a defunct broker-dealer, had failed to comply with advertising rules in promoting investments that use Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code (“1031...more

SEC Approves Amendments to FINRA’s Corporate Financing Rule

Broader Availability of Termination Fees and Rights of First Refusal - Elimination of Filing for Certain ETFs: In May 2014, the SEC approved FINRA’s proposed amendments to Rule 5110, commonly called the...more

BrokerCheck Hyperlinks: FINRA Proposes a Revised Rule

FINRA is seeking to increase investor awareness of BrokerCheck, its online investor tool for researching the professional backgrounds of firms and brokers. BrokerCheck is accessible to investors and all members of the public...more

5/12/2014  /  BrokerCheck , FINRA

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

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

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

Ketchum Shares Bon Mots with BD Industry at SIFMA Meeting

At this week’s Annual SIFMA Law and Compliance meeting, FINRA CEO Rick Ketchum provided a number of candid and pointed comments in a wide-ranging and no-holds-barred interview conducted by long-time senior compliance official...more

FINRA Provides a Detailed Analysis of a Broker-Dealer’s Failure to Adequately Supervise Alternative Investment Sales

In March 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined a broker-dealer $950,000 for supervisory deficiencies related to its failure to adequately supervise the sale of “alternative investments.” These...more

FINRA Protects Seniors by Disciplining Inadequate Supervision of VA Sales

As baby boomers continue to age, securities regulators focus on protecting the growing population of seniors and retirees. For example, the regulators are seeking to ensure that broker-dealers’ systems and procedures for...more

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