Lloyd S. Harmetz

Lloyd S. Harmetz

Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 10

FINRA Revises its Proposed Amendments to Rule 2210 - In our recent Client Alert, we wrote about the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.’s proposed changes to Rule 2210, Communications with the Public. One of...more

10/6/2016 - Administrative Proceedings Broker-Dealer Enforcement Actions Exchange-Traded Products FINRA Mortgage REITS NASAA Proposed Amendments Rule 2210 SEC

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update - August 2016

Regulation - Next on the SEC’s Regulatory Agenda: A Chief Valuation Officer? - First, the SEC required funds to designate a chief compliance officer. Then, the SEC proposed that funds designate a liquidity...more

8/16/2016 - Advisors Act Auditors BDC Broker-Dealer Business Continuity Plans Business Development Companies CFTC Commodity Futures Contracts Commodity Pool Customer Due Diligence (CDD) ETFs FinCEN FSOC OCIE Private Equity Qualified Client Risk Management SEC

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 8

Brexit and Structured Products: A Framework for Considering Disclosures - The U.K.’s recent referendum to withdraw from the European Union has affected virtually all segments of the financial industry. The structured...more

8/13/2016 - Administrative Proceedings Broker-Dealer Disclosure Requirements Distributors DOL ERISA ETFs EU Fiduciary Duty Financial Markets FINRA Fraud Manufacturers Negligence Standard Referendums Required Communications SEC Structured Financial Products UK UK Brexit

FINRA Study of Financial Literacy: Many Investors May Not Have It

In July 2016, FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation released the findings from its National Financial Capability Study. The study suggests that, while in some ways Americans have increased their financial literacy, too...more

7/14/2016 - Broker-Dealer Financial Literacy FINRA Surveys

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

“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

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

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 Reminds Members of Obligations in Offerings Subject to a Contingency

On February 8, 2016, FINRA released Regulatory Notice 16-08 relating to the contingency offering requirements of Rules 10b-9 and 15c2-4 under the Exchange Act. The Notice arises from FINRA’s review of various private...more

2/12/2016 - Broker-Dealer Escrow Accounts Filing Requirements FINRA Offerings Private Placements Required Documentation Securities Exchange Act

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

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

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

Structured Products Offerings and Research Reports: Introduction - Structured products are sold by broker-dealers, many of which are affiliates of large investment banks. The equity research group of the same...more

11/6/2015 - Binary Options Broker-Dealer Disclosure Requirements Equity Research Rule ETNs FINRA Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions (GSIFI) License Agreements Offerings Sanctions SEC Structured Financial Products Websites

FINRA to Propose Action on Exploitation of Elderly Investors

On September 17, 2015, FINRA announced that it would propose rules to help member firms protect seniors and other vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. The proposal would create a safe harbor enabling broker-dealer...more

9/23/2015 - Amended Regulation Broker-Dealer Disabled Elder Abuse Elder Issues Exploitation FINRA Investor Protection OCIE Proposed Regulation Safe Harbors

Cybersecurity, Round 2: OCIE Announces Areas of Focus for Cybersecurity Examinations

On September 15, 2015, OCIE issued a risk alert relating to its new cybersecurity examination initiative. This is the second round of these examinations, and the alert provides a detailed look at OCIE’s current areas of...more

9/17/2015 - Broker-Dealer Cyber Incident Reporting Cyber Threats Cybersecurity Data Privacy Data Protection Data Security FINRA Hackers Investment Adviser OCIE Risk Alert Risk Management SEC SEC Examination Priorities Third-Party Training

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 6, Issue 5

OCIE Issues Risk Alert Relating to Structured Note Sales - Earlier this year, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (the “OCIE”) indicated branch offices and structured products as two of its...more

9/1/2015 - Broker-Dealer Compensation Standards Derivatives EDGAR Endangered Species Act (ESA) EU Financial Institutions FINRA Internal Communications IRS Loss Contingencies NASD OCIE Risk Alert Risk Management SEC Structured Finance Training UK Underwriting

Show Us the Money: FINRA Initiates Sweep Relating to Compensation Practices

FINRA has made no secret of its interest in broker compensation, and the potential conflicts of interest that can be generated by some types of compensation practices. FINRA discussed these issues in its 2015 annual...more

8/26/2015 - Broker Commissions Broker-Dealer Conflicts of Interest Fiduciary Duty FINRA Registered Representatives Request For Information Retailers Third-Party

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

12/2/2014 - Advertising Big Data Broker-Dealer CARDS Disclosure Requirements Exchange-Traded Products FINRA Regulatory Agenda Regulatory Standards SEC Structured Financial Products

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