Lloyd S. Harmetz

Lloyd S. Harmetz

Morrison & Foerster LLP

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FINRA Sanctions Investment Firm Following Unsuitable Sales of Nontraditional ETFs

On June 7, 2016, FINRA settled proceedings against a New York-based investment firm for alleged violations of its suitability and related rules, namely NASD Rule 2310 and FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010. According to FINRA,...more

6/17/2016 - Broker-Dealer Compliance ETFs FINRA Investment Firms NASD Sanctions Settlement

Massachusetts Securities Division Searches for Rogue Brokers

According to news reports, the Massachusetts Securities Division (the “Division”) recently sent a “sweep letter” to firms asking broker-dealers to report information about their hiring policies and procedures. The Division,...more

6/8/2016 - Broker-Dealer Enforcement Actions FINRA Hiring & Firing Professional Misconduct Securities

FINRA Proposes Initial Round of Amendments to Communications Rules

In May 2016, FINRA filed with the SEC proposed revisions to its communications rules that include a few substantive revisions to existing rules, ease some burdensome filing requirements, and leave the door open for future...more

6/7/2016 - Amended Regulation Disclosure Requirements Educational Communications Rule Filing Requirements FINRA Investment Companies Investor Protection Rule 2210 SEC

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 6

Structured Notes Offered on an Agency Basis - In our last issue, we discussed the potential impact of the Department of Labor’s new rules on sales of structured products. In that article, we discussed some of the...more

5/31/2016 - Comment Period Debt Deposit Accounts DOL FDIC FINRA Offerings Recordkeeping Requirements Regulation S-K Retirement Plan SEC Structured Financial Products Underwriting

“It’s Not a Culture War” – Yet?

On May 23, 2016, at FINRA’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., Richard Ketchum, FINRA’s chairman and CEO, delivered a speech that shed a little light on FINRA’s recent sweep letter relating to firm culture....more

5/26/2016 - Broker-Dealer Corporate Culture Fiduciary Duty FINRA Investment Adviser Investor Protection

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Special Issue: Implications of the DOL Fiduciary Rule for...

On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its final conflict of interest regulations, which significantly expand who is considered a fiduciary when dealing with a retirement account. The new regulations,...more

5/5/2016 - 401k Best Interest Contract Exemptions Broker-Dealer DOL ERISA Fiduciary Duty Investment Adviser IRA Retirement Plan Structured Financial Products

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 5

Electronic Structured Product Systems and FINRA’s Robo-Advisor Report - In a prior issue of this publication, we wrote about electronic structured note issuance platforms, and how these might be affected by U.S....more

5/2/2016 - Broker-Dealer European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Financial Adviser FINRA OCC Regulation S-K Retail Investors SEC

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update - April 2016

Regulation - Department of Labor Issues Fiduciary Regulations Under ERISA - The Department of Labor (DOL) issued its long-anticipated final regulation (the “Regulation”) defining who is a fiduciary as a result of...more

4/21/2016 - Broker-Dealer CFTC Crowdfunding Derivatives DOL ERISA FINRA SEC

A Lofty Concept: Disclosure Effectiveness

Even before the JOBS Act had been proposed, policymakers focused on the downturn in the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) speculated that the burdensome disclosure requirements applicable to public companies were...more

4/19/2016 - Corporate Governance Disclosure Requirements IPO JOBS Act SEC

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 4

Structured Product Sales at Bank Branches: Networking- Arrangement Rules - Many broker-dealers engaged in the structured products industry are affiliates of large U.S. banks, which have a significant customer footprint. ...more

4/1/2016 - Banks Broker-Dealer Financial Services Industry FINRA High-Yield Markets SEC Structured Financial Products

FINRA Reports on Robo-Advisors

In response to the emerging growth and use of so-called “robo-advisors,” including coverage in the media, FINRA released a report in March 2016 relating to these digital investment tools. ...more

3/29/2016 - Broker-Dealer FINRA Investors Robocalling

SEC Imposes Fine for Improper Research Report

In March 2016, the SEC entered into a settlement agreement with a U.S. broker-dealer, which initiated research coverage of an issuer after being invited by the issuer to participate as an underwriter for that issuer’s planned...more

3/28/2016 - Broker-Dealer Fines Offerings Prospectus SEC Underwriting

FINRA and T+2: The Rule Roll-Out Begins

As the U.S. financial markets commence their move towards a T+2 settlement period, FINRA has introduced a proposed set of rule changes designed to support this change. The current timetable contemplates that the changes...more

3/8/2016 - FINRA Rulemaking Process Securities Settlements

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 3

Structured Product Sales at Bank Branches: Networking- Arrangement Rules - Many broker-dealers engaged in the structured products industry are affiliates of large U.S. banks, which have a significant customer footprint....more

3/3/2016 - Broker-Dealer Corporate Communications FINRA High-Yield Markets Investors Recruitment Policies SEC Structured Financial Products

FINRA Approves Price Disclosure Proposal for Debt Securities

On February 26, 2016, FINRA issued a press release (http://www.finra.org/newsroom/2016/finra-approves-enhanced-price-disclosure-retail-investors-fixed-income-securities) announcing that its Board of Governors approved the...more

3/2/2016 - Debt Securities Disclosure Requirements FINRA SEC TRACE

“Tell Us About Your Culture” – FINRA Commences Sweep

In its January 2016 annual exam priorities letter, FINRA announced that it would examine the “compliance culture” at member firms. In furtherance of that goal, in February 2016, FINRA issued a “sweep letter” to members...more

2/23/2016 - Compliance Corporate Culture Examination Priorities FINRA Risk Management

SEC Issues Investor Alert on Crowdfunding

With the May 2016 effective date of the new crowdfunding rules approaching, the SEC is attempting to help prepare the market. On February 16, 2016, the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an investor...more

2/18/2016 - Crowdfunding Early Stage Companies Fraud Investors Offerings SEC

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 2

Is There a Standard Form of Rule 144A Representation Letter? - My file of Rule 144A representation letters has been growing fatter, and I‘m not sure why. I would have hoped that by now there would be just one great...more

2/12/2016 - Banking Sector Broker-Dealer Corporate Issuers Disclosure Requirements ERISA Federal Reserve FINRA Institutional Investors IRS Market Basket Regulation S-K Representations and Warranties Rule 144A Rule 15a-6 SEC Structured Finance Structured Financial Products TLAC

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 1

T+2 Settlement and Structured Notes - Introduction - In December 2015, the “T+2 Industry Steering Committee” published its Implementation Playbook. The Playbook is intended to provide, among other things, a...more

1/18/2016 - Equity Markets FINRA OCIE Regulatory Agenda SEC Structured Finance Structured Financial Products

FINRA and OCIE: Examining Private Placements

Readers of this blog are familiar with the recent regulatory changes that have created new possibilities for non-registered capital raises in the U.S.: general solicitations in Regulation D offerings, Regulation A+,...more

1/14/2016 - Broker-Dealer Capital Raising Crowdfunding FINRA OCIE Private Placements

FINRA Releases Proposed Rule to Reduce the Regulatory Burdens on Boutique Investment Banks

FINRA has filed with the SEC a proposed rule which would reduce the regulatory burden for broker-dealers that limit their activities to M&A and certain corporate financing transactions. The proposed rule would create a new...more

1/8/2016 - Broker-Dealer Corporate Financing FINRA Investment Banks Proposed Regulation

FINRA’s 2016 Priorities Letter: Objective and Subjective Issues

2016 has arrived and, with the new year, FINRA has published its agenda of key examination priorities. This year’s 13-page Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter sets forth both long-standing and new items for firms to...more

1/7/2016 - FINRA Internal Controls Liquidity Risk Management Supervision

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 6, Issue 9

ESMA Final Report on Complex Debt Instruments and Structured Deposits - On 26 November 2015, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published its Final Report on its “Guidelines on complex debt...more

12/15/2015 - Banking Sector Derivatives DOL EU EURIBOR European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) Exchange-Traded Products Fiduciary Duty FINRA MiFID II Regulatory Agenda SEC Structured Finance

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 6, Issue 8

Structured Notes and Issuer Quiet Periods Background - Most issuers establish a “quiet period” (also called a “blackout” period) prior to the release of potentially sensitive information and material non-public...more

11/23/2015 - Banking Sector Corporate Issuers Debt Financial Services Industry FINRA FSB Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions (GSIFI) Structured Financial Products

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update - November 2015

Regulation - OCIE Cautions Advisers on Outsourcing Compliance Activities: In a Risk Alert dated November 9, 2015, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) said it found that outsourced...more

11/18/2015 - AIFMD Anti-Money Laundering CFTC Compliance Cybersecurity Enforcement Actions FINRA Investment Management Investor Protection OCIE Outsourcing SEC Swap Dealers Swing Pricing Volcker Rule

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