David Smyth

David Smyth

Brooks Pierce

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Two Points about the SEC’s $30+ Million Whistleblower Award

You probably saw that on Monday the SEC announced its largest-ever award under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions: over $30 million to an unnamed tipster from overseas. As with all of the awards issued so far, the...more

9/25/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Foreign Nationals SEC Siemens Whistleblower Awards

Unregistered Brokers: Watch out for Shortcuts

One of the things I’ve learned since returning to private practice three years ago is that people like to raise money for profitable enterprises when they can. And why not? It can be lucrative. And if the people raising...more

8/21/2014 - Broker-Dealer Brokers Compliance SEC

Guns and More Guns: SEC Hits Smith & Wesson for FCPA Violations

One thing the SEC likes to do is bring cases with a lot of deterrent value. That is, cases that it hopes will scare other people and companies into complying with the law. Often that means cases with large price tags...more

7/29/2014 - Corporate Counsel Disgorgement Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA Gun Manufacturers Penalties Popular Prejudgment Interest SEC Smith & Wesson

Three Thoughts about FINRA’s Weird Japanese Insider Trading Case

One of the things you’re not supposed to do if you’re in the securities business – or any business, really – is buy and sell securities on the basis of material, nonpublic information in breach of a duty not to do so. The...more

7/15/2014 - Enforcement Actions FINRA Fraud Insider Trading Japan Popular SEC

Commissioner Aguilar Addresses Boards’ Focus on Cybersecurity

One June 10th SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar made a speech before the New York Stock Exchange, and he took the opportunity to discuss good corporate governance as it relates to cybersecurity and boards of directors....more

6/27/2014 - Adobe Board of Directors Corporate Governance Cybersecurity Dodd-Frank NIST SEC SnapChat Target

The SEC v. Congress . . . for the Title

You don’t see this every day. On Friday, the SEC filed a subpoena enforcement action seeking production of documents from the House Ways and Means Committee and documents and testimony from one of its staff members, Brian...more

6/23/2014 - CMS Enforcement Enforcement Actions Mary Jo White Medicare Medicare Advantage SEC Ways and Means Committee

SEC Files First Whistleblower Retaliation Case

Well, you can’t say Sean McKessy didn’t warn you. The chief of the SEC’s whistleblower office has been warning for months at least that his group was looking to bring a stand-alone case enforcing the anti-retaliation...more

6/18/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions Hiring & Firing Popular SEC Whistleblowers

Judge Rakoff Reversed by Second Circuit on SEC-Citi case, Still Sort of Wins

You’d be forgiven if you’d forgotten at this point, but way back in Obama’s first term, the SEC once investigated and sued Citigroup for its involvement in a collateralized debt obligation deal. As the SEC said in its...more

6/5/2014 - Chevron Deference Citigroup Collateralized Debt Obligations Consent Decrees Enforcement Enforcement Actions Interlocutory Appeals Judge Rakoff Popular Risk Management SEC SEC v Citigroup Settlement

It Starts with the Custody Rule

If you’re an investment adviser with custody of your client’s assets, is there a more important rule to be sure you’re on top of than the custody rule? If you’re on the SEC’s IA exam staff, is there a more important rule to...more

5/13/2014 - Compliance Custody Rule Fraud SEC

SEC Enters into First Non-Prosecution Agreement with an Individual

One of the main questions I get from potential insider trading defendants is some variation of Well, what are we looking at here? That is, if the SEC is able to prove its case, what could the consequences be? Unfortunately,...more

4/29/2014 - eBay Enforcement Actions Non-Prosecution Agreements Personal Liability SEC

SEC Says the Cyber Police Are Coming

Pretty soon we’ll all be data privacy lawyers. The SEC is certainly doing its part to ensure that comes to pass. Earlier this year the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections, and Examinations announced that its 2014...more

4/18/2014 - Cybersecurity Data Protection Mary Jo White OCIE SEC

Two Thoughts about Dewey LeBoeuf and Parallel Proceedings

You’ve probably read about the Manhattan district attorney’s office’s indictment of executives at former Big Law giant Dewey LeBoeuf. According to the WSJ Law Blog, the crux is this: “[F]ormer Dewey Chairman Steven...more

3/20/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions Parallel Claims SEC

For Municipal Bond Issuers, SEC’s New Cooperation Initiative Could Be a Good Idea (Unless It’s a Bad Idea)

You know how every few years libraries will offer an amnesty program and give delinquent borrowers a chance to bring in their old books without prohibitive late fines? The SEC is sort of trying out that approach with its new...more

3/14/2014 - Bonds Disclosure Requirements Municipal Bonds SEC

The SEC Will Take “Your” Money, Thanks

So let’s say you work for a hedge fund or some other financial institution that engages in proprietary trading , and you’re inclined to do some insider trading on your employer’s behalf. You make your trades, but you’re a...more

3/11/2014 - Compliance Insider Trading Proprietary Trading SEC Securities Exchange Act

Two Thoughts about the Jury Verdict in SEC v. Steffes

As you may have heard by now, on January 27th a jury in the Northern District of Illinois sided with the defendants and against the SEC in an aggressive insider trading case. Here were the facts as alleged by the SEC and...more

2/19/2014 - Acquisitions Insider Trading SEC

SEC Not Kidding about Subpoena Enforcement Actions, Obtains Coronati’s Arrest

Here’s one of the questions I get from some individual clients when they receive subpoenas from the SEC: Could I get arrested over this? Well, no. First things first – The SEC has civil authority, not criminal authority. ...more

2/12/2014 - Contempt Enforcement Actions SEC Securities Fraud Subpoenas

SEC Charges Hao He with Insider Trading, for Some Reason or Another

Here are two things about insider trading law: First, it’s hard to know exactly what the parameters are. The United States doesn’t have a specific statute prohibiting it. It grows out of the general anti-fraud provisions...more

2/10/2014 - Fraud Insider Trading SEC Securities Act of 1933 Securities Exchange Act

Congress Slashes SEC’s Technology Budget

This isn’t a political post, I assure you. We don’t do that sort of thing at Cady Bar the Door. I’m just saying that the Washington Post reported a couple of weeks ago that Congress had taken away half of the $50 million...more

1/31/2014 - Automation Systems Daniel Gallagher Federal Funding SEC

“The World’s Largest Ponzi Scheme”

Regarding my last post on whistleblowers and tipsters at the SEC, I wanted to make one more related point. Many people like to yell at the SEC for not grasping the gravity of Harry Markopolos’s complaints about Bernie...more

1/15/2014 - Bernie Madoff Fraud Ponzi Scheme SEC Whistleblowers

“Whistleblowers” and Tipsters at the SEC

I was thinking my disgorgement post would be the last one of the year but, you know, it’s hard to stop. On Christmas Eve, the Boston Globe published a nice profile of Paul Levenson, the newly installed head of the SEC’s...more

12/31/2013 - Compliance Investment Management SEC Whistleblowers

Thinking about SEC Disgorgement

Upon starting work at on SEC enforcement cases – on either side – one quickly learns that the SEC isn’t authorized to seek money damages in its cases. Instead, the SEC seeks disgorgement of what it contends is a defendant’s...more

12/24/2013 - Disgorgement Enforcement Equitable Relief SEC

Accountants Have to Follow the Custody Rule, Too

I don’t want to keep harping on the investment adviser custody rule. Look, I mean, SEC CustodyFest was fun, but we’re not going back in that depth. Someday maybe, but not today. But I’m going to harp a little bit. Because...more

12/20/2013 - Accountants Custody Rule SEC

Admit-Deny Placeholder

First, the kerfuffle surrounding the Citi matter has wholly obfuscated the SEC staff’s achievement. Understand that these structured products cases are extremely complicated. Even when assisted by whistleblowers, the facts do...more

12/10/2013 - Citigroup Compliance FCPA SEC Whistleblowers

SEC CustodyFest Vol. 3: Jason Returns

In this last chapter of SEC CustodyFest, we visit Knelman Asset Management Group. For this case, I’m mostly interested in discussing a change to the SEC’s custody rule, Rule 206(4)-2, from 2010....more

12/6/2013 - Compliance Custody Rule Enforcement GAAP PCAOB SEC

SEC CustodyFest Vol. 2: Electric Boogaloo

I know you’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of SEC CustodyFest. Let’s turn to the second matter brought by the SEC on October 28th: Further Lane Asset Management. This case actually did not revolve around the investment...more

12/2/2013 - Asset Management Hedge Funds SEC

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