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Legal Alert: SEC and PCAOB Address Independence Requirements in Audits Related to Broker-Dealers’ Financial Statements

Confirming that auditor independence continues to be a regulatory priority, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) issued orders on December 8,...more

12/11/2014 - Auditors Audits Broken Gates Broker-Dealer Financial Statements PCAOB Regulation S-X Sanctions SEC

Ten Items to Consider as FINRA’s Consolidated Supervision Rules Take Effect

On December 1, 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Consolidated Supervision Rules will take effect. The Consolidated Supervision Rules, which were approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange...more

11/25/2014 - Consolidated Supervision Rules FINRA Regulatory Standards SEC

What Does It Take to Make the SEC Happy? SEC Criticism of Broker-Dealers’ Due Diligence for Sales of Unregistered Securities...

To ensure that broker-dealers (BDs) do not inadvertently facilitate an unlawful distribution of securities, the Securities and Exchange Commission has long required BDs to conduct a “reasonable inquiry” into the circumstances...more

10/24/2014 - Broker-Dealer Due Diligence FINRA OCIE SEC Section 5 Securities Act of 1933 Settlement Unregistered Securities

FINRA Provides New Carve-Out Provisions to Include in Settlement and Confidentiality Agreements

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Member Firms have new language to include in their settlement and confidentiality agreements. On October 9, FINRA released Regulatory Notice (RN) 14-40, warning that firms are...more

10/16/2014 - Arbitration Agreements Carve Out Provisions Confidentiality Agreements FINRA Settlement

Massachusetts Treasurer Demands National Mutual Fund Records in Multistate Unclaimed Property Audit

Late this summer, the Massachusetts Treasurer demanded mutual fund records on a nationwide basis as part of a multistate unclaimed property audit. Thirty-five (35) states are involved in the audit, but the Treasurer has...more

10/9/2014 - Audits Death Master Files IRA Mutual Funds Social Security Adminstration Unclaimed Property

Legal Alert: Largest SEC Whistleblower Award Could Have Been Larger

On September 22, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced the largest-ever whistleblower award, more than double last year’s record-breaking award. According to the Order, the award, which will likely...more

9/26/2014 - Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules Foreign Nationals SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

Florida Legislature Relaxes Agency Licensing Requirements for Broker-Dealer Branch Offices Selling Insurance Products but Creates...

Under current Florida insurance laws, branch offices of broker-dealers selling insurance products in Florida are required to either “license” or “register” as agency branches (in addition to satisfying insurance producer...more

8/26/2014 - Broker-Dealer Disclosure Requirements Insurance Brokers Insurers Licensing Rules New Regulations

FinCEN Customer Due Diligence Rule Proposal

On July 30, 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued proposed rules (the “Proposed Rules”) to clarify and strengthen customer due diligence requirements for banks, securities...more

8/20/2014 - Banks Broker-Dealer Commodity Pool Due Diligence FCMs Financial Regulatory Reform FinCEN Mutual Funds

Second Circuit Rejects Extraterritorial Application of Dodd-Frank’s Whistleblower Anti-Retaliation Provision

On August 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit became the first U.S. appellate court to weigh in on the extraterritorial application of the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...more

8/19/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Appeals Chief Compliance Officers Dodd-Frank Extraterritoriality Rules FCPA Sarbanes-Oxley Siemens Whistleblowers

SEC Approves Rule Preventing Barters for Expungement Cooperation – What You Can Do to Ensure Compliance

On July 22, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) proposed Rule 2081, which prevents firms or associated persons from conditioning settlement or...more

7/28/2014 - Consideration Expungement FINRA Proposed Regulation SEC Settlement

SEC Launches First Whistleblower Retaliation Case Under Dodd-Frank

On June 16, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated and resolved its first case charging an employer with unlawfully retaliating against a securities whistleblower under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...more

6/23/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Employer Liability Issues Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act Whistleblowers

SEC Issues $875,000 Whistleblower Award

On June 3, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issued a whistleblower award to two individuals who had provided information leading to a successful SEC enforcement action. The whistleblower...more

6/10/2014 - Dodd-Frank Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower Warns Companies and Inside Counsel Against Using Employment Incentives to Deter External...

During a recent panel discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center’s 18th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower, Sean McKessy, warned...more

3/20/2014 - Corporate Counsel SEC Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Supreme Court Expands SOX Whistleblower Protection to Employees of Private Contractors of Public Companies

In the first SOX whistleblower case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court held on March 4 that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) prohibits private contractors of publicly traded companies from retaliating...more

3/6/2014 - Contractors Fidelity Investments FMR LLC Lawson v FMR Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

M&A Brokers Exempt from SEC Broker-Dealer Registration Requirements

On January 31, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Trading and Markets issued a No-Action Letter (Letter)1 that allows a private business broker (M&A Broker) to receive transaction-based...more

2/10/2014 - Broker-Dealer No-Action Letters Registration SEC Securities Exchange Act

SEC’s Examination Program Issues a Risk Alert on Investment Adviser Due Diligence Processes

On January 28, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued a Risk Alert entitled: Investment Adviser Due Diligence Processes for Selecting...more

2/3/2014 - Compliance Due Diligence Enforcement Investigations OCIE SEC

SEC and FINRA Publish 2014 Examination Priorities for Broker-Dealers

On January 9, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published its 2014 examination priorities (SEC Letter), just one week after the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) published its 2014...more

1/20/2014 - Broker-Dealer FINRA SEC

SEC Publishes 2014 Examination Priorities for Investment Advisers

On January 9, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published its 2014 examination priorities letter (“SEC Letter”) for its National Examination Program (NEP). The NEP covers all markets and entities...more

1/20/2014 - Compliance Enforcement Fraud Investigations Investment Adviser NEP SEC

Federal Courts Take Divergent Approaches to Jury Trials for Whistleblower Plaintiffs Under Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley

A recurring question under the federal whistleblower laws is whether plaintiffs suing their employers for retaliation have the right to a jury trial. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act1 appears...more

1/10/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Consumer Protection Act Dodd-Frank Employer Liability Issues Financial Regulatory Reform Hiring & Firing Jury Trial Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SEC Securities Fraud Termination Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

SEC Order Denying Whistleblower Claim Confirms Prospective Coverage and Limited Discovery in Dodd-Frank Bounty Proceedings

In a recent order denying a whistleblower’s award claim,1 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission upheld the prospective application and discovery limitations of two of its rules implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street...more

12/9/2013 - Discovery Dodd-Frank SEC Whistleblower Awards Whistleblowers

High Court's Decision Next Term May Increase Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Litigation

This November, in Lawson v. FMR LLC, the United States Supreme Court will hear argument on whether “whistleblowers” employed by a privately held contractor or subcontractor of a publicly traded company are protected from...more

8/28/2013 - Contractors Lawson v FMR Mutual Funds Retaliation Sarbanes-Oxley SCOTUS Subcontractors Whistleblowers

Ready or Not: Lost Securityholders, Uncashed Checks and Dormant Accounts

In the dog days of August, it would be tempting to put aside challenges created by new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. But we all know that would be a mistake. Instead, attention needs to be paid now to new...more

8/9/2013 - Bank Accounts Broker-Dealer Escheat Investigations SEC Securities Exchange Act

Fifth Circuit Creates Split on Scope of Retaliation Protection for "Whistleblowers" Under Dodd-Frank

Since the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, a number of federal courts have grappled with the scope of the Act’s new protections for employee “whistleblowers.” Until recently,...more

8/7/2013 - Conflicts of Laws Dodd-Frank Retaliation Whistleblower Protection Policies Whistleblowers

Legal Alert: Private Offerings: The SEC Lifts Ban on General Solicitation But Proposes a Hefty Regulatory Burden in Return

During an open meeting of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) on July 10, 2013, the SEC adopted a rule that lifts the ban on general solicitation of unregistered securities offerings and paves the way for...more

7/17/2013 - Advertising Bad Actors General Solicitation JOBS Act Regulation D Rule 144A Rule 506 Offerings SEC U.S. Treasury

Legal Alert: Southern District of New York Endorses Extension of Dodd-Frank's Retaliation Protections to Internal Whistleblowers

In Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York recently held that Dodd-Frank’s whistleblower protections can extend to employees who do not qualify as statutory “whistleblowers.”...more

6/19/2013 - Dodd-Frank Reporting Requirements Retaliation SEC Whistleblowers

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