David Smyth

David Smyth

Brooks Pierce

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The SEC Will Be Your Employment Law Agency, Too

The nature of the SEC’s business a regulator of public companies lends a certain expansive aspect to its jurisdiction. That is, when your job as a government agency is to be sure public companies are making complete and...more

3/3/2015 - Employer Liability Issues Jurisdiction Publicly-Traded Companies SEC Severance Agreements Whistleblowers

SIFMA Gets Its Cybersecurity-Antitrust Wish

I’m sure you remember SIFMA’s Principles for Effective Cybersecurity Regulatory Guidance, issued last October. I mean, you read about them right here. One of the principles was this: Principle 9: Information Sharing...more

3/2/2015 - Cybersecurity Information Sharing SIFMA

Two-Factor Authentication May Be Coming to a Bank Near You

When I was at the SEC and online broker-dealers’ customers were the victims of hacking incidents, I used to wonder, why don’t the broker-dealers require multi-factor authentication to gain access to accounts? It was a silly...more

2/27/2015 - Authentication Banks Cybersecurity Data Protection Financial Institutions

In Ordering Disgorgement in SEC Cases, Courts Have Discretion, but Not That Much Discretion

When defendants argue in federal court against the SEC’s calculation of a disgorgement figure, they hear a lot of this: “A district court has broad discretion to order disgorgement of profits obtained through...more

2/24/2015 - Burden of Proof Disgorgement SEC Securities Fraud

The FCPA on Prezi

I spoke at the UNC Festival of Legal Learning last week about recent developments in the law surrounding the FCPA. It’s always a little tricky speaking to novices in any area, because you have to lay a lot of groundwork for...more

2/20/2015

One Good Thing and One Bad Thing about SEC Administrative Proceedings

One of my favorite lines from my kids’ books involves a cat named Pickles who’s having something of an identity crisis. Pickles doesn’t really have an owner, but does have a temporary caretaker, who tells him, “Pickles,...more

2/19/2015 - Administrative Hearings Enforcement Actions SEC

S.D.N.Y. Vacates Insider Trading Guilty Pleas, Shows How It’s Done

As you probably know if you’re reading this, in December the Second Circuit upended insider trading law for “tipping” cases by (1) giving some structure to the definition of the personal benefit that must come to the original...more

2/2/2015

The SEC Totally Cares about Its Injunctions

Last week I wrote a post discussing the injunctions the SEC typically obtains against defendants in federal court. I noted the oddity of these obey-the-law injunctions and wondered aloud why the Commission never pursues...more

1/27/2015 - Civil Monetary Penalty Contempt Enforcement Actions Injunctions Permanent Injunctions SEC

Retrench of DOJ’s Equitable Sharing Program Could be Boon to N.C. Schools

“Equitable Sharing” sounds so reasonable. Who could argue with it? Here’s what it is, and what it does: The Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing program allows federal law enforcement agencies to “adopt” seizures of...more

1/21/2015 - DOJ Equitable Sharing Forfeiture Law Enforcement Public Schools Search & Seizure

The SEC Does Not Care about Its Injunctions

It won’t surprise you to learn that the U.S. Code includes this provision: “A court of the United States shall have power to punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority . . . as...more

1/20/2015 - Civil Monetary Penalty Disgorgement Enforcement Actions Injunctions Rule 65 SEC

Justice Department Files First FCPA Case of 2015, Reminds Lawyers to Watch Out

Last week, the Justice Department filed the first FCPA case of 2015 when it indicted Dmitrij Harder, the former owner and president the Chestnut Consulting Group in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. ...more

1/14/2015 - Bribery Crime-Fraud Exception DOJ Enforcement Actions FCPA Foreign Official Indictments UK

Does SEC Enforcement Treat Bigger Companies Differently?

I’m stealing the title of this post from Broc Romanek, who asked this question on January 2nd. He was responding to a study authored by Jonas Heese, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who has authored a study...more

1/8/2015 - Enforcement Actions Enforcement Statistics Publicly-Traded Companies SEC

Three More Thoughts about United States v. Newman

In the wake of the Second Circuit’s huge remote tippee insider trading decision from two weeks ago in United States v. Newman, three more things occur to me. To recap, the court held that to be liable for insider trading in...more

12/29/2014 - Hedge Funds Illegal Tipping Insider Trading Material Nonpublic Information Personal Benefit Portfolio Managers Securities Securities Fraud US v Newman

Second Circuit Limits Insider Trading Law for Remote Tippees

Matt Levine is a big jerk. He just sits there at Bloomberg following events in finance and securities enforcement, and then writes interesting things about those events really quickly and with insight that no one else has...more

12/12/2014 - Appeals Dell Indictments Insider Trading Material Nonpublic Information Nvidia Reversal SEC US v Newman

Caution: Aggressive Interpretation of Broker-Dealer Registration Provisions Could Be Hazardous to Your Ability to Stay out of...

Let’s do some compare and contrast, starting with a fairly unremarkable case the SEC filed in the Northern District of Texas on November 20th. In that action, the Commission sued the father-son duo of Paul and Jeffrey Downey...more

12/2/2014 - Broker-Dealer Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Registration SEC Securities Fraud

Pulling Mark Filip from UVA Rape Investigation Makes “Independence” a Silly Talisman

I really don’t mean to be a mouthpiece for Kirkland & Ellis white collar lawyers. But they’ve been in the news in recent days, this time in connection with this horrific story about widespread sexual assaults at the...more

11/25/2014 - Internal Investigations Investigations Sexual Assault University of Virginia

Michael Garcia Now Just Taunting FIFA

And I say that in the most complimentary way. If you haven’t been following this story, here’s a quick recap: FIFA awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively. This raised eyebrows, as they say. ...more

11/21/2014 - Corruption FBI FIFA Internal Investigations Michael Garcia Qatar Russia World Cup

Proposed “Fair Fund” for CR Intrinsic Case Stirs Dustup among SEC’s Commissioners

In the right kind of enforcement action, the SEC can take the money it’s generated and set up what’s called a Fair Fund to redistribute that money to harmed investors. But what is the right kind of case? This procedure was...more

11/13/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions Fair Fund Sarbanes-Oxley SEC

SEC and FINRA Issue Risk Alert on Penny Stock Companies

I’m not your legal advisor. And I’m definitely not your investment adviser. But the first rule of penny stock companies should be: do not invest in penny stock companies. I mean, does that seem like a smart thing to do? ...more

11/12/2014 - EDGAR FINRA Investors OTC SEC Stocks

SIFMA Issues Cybersecurity Regulatory Principles

Does everyone feel compelled to comment on cybersecurity issues? It seems that way. And on October 20th the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association jumped deeper into the fray when it issued its Principles for...more

11/7/2014 - Cybersecurity Cybersecurity Framework NIST SIFMA

SEC Sanctions Auditor, Should Make Small Issuers Think Twice

The SEC brought a settled administrative action against an auditor on October 24th. Often I’ll take a case like this and write something about it to warn other auditors (or investment advisers or broker-dealers, or whomever)...more

11/4/2014 - Auditors Audits Broker-Dealer Compliance Enforcement Investment Adviser SEC

Rengan Rajaratnam Settlement Exposes Weak Point in SEC’s Newish Admissions Policy

You remember Rengan Rajaratnam, right? He broke the S.D.N.Y.’s long streak of insider trading victories when a jury acquitted him in July. I wondered what the effect on his case with the SEC would be. Would he settle? ...more

10/27/2014 - Admissions Chief Compliance Officers Compliance Insider Trading SEC

SEC Issues Risk Alert, Smacks E*Trade on Penny Stock Sales

On October 9th the SEC brought a settled administrative action against E*Trade Securities and G1 Execution Services (formerly E*Trade Capital Markets) for their part in the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny...more

10/24/2014 - Broker-Dealer E*Trade Enforcement Actions Risk Alert SEC

DOJ’s Marshall Miller: You’re All FCPA Lawyers Now

Marshall Miller, the Justice Department’s principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, has been heating up the compliance conference circuit in recent weeks. On September 17th, it was the Global...more

10/22/2014 - BNP Paribas Chief Compliance Officers Compliance Corporate Culture DOJ Ethics FCPA FCPA Resource Guide Professional Conferences Risk Management SEC

Wrapping up Securities Enforcement Forum 2014

I was lucky enough to spend Tuesday at Bruce Carton’s Securities Enforcement Forum 2014. In three years, it has gone from zero to the preeminent securities enforcement law conference anywhere. I blogged it hurriedly...more

10/17/2014 - Compliance Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA SEC

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