Lloyd S. Harmetz

Lloyd S. Harmetz

Morrison & Foerster LLP

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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 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 ESMA EU EURIBOR 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

Are You Eligible?

We have a variety of regulations that set forth different standards of eligibility for different types of instruments. These can be found under both the U.S. securities laws and the commodities laws. It’s not always easy to...more

11/11/2015 - Accredited Investors Institutional Investors Offerings Private Placements Qualified Institutional Buyers Regulation D

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 Proposes Rules to Help Avoid Financial Exploitation of Seniors

Avoiding financial exploitation of older investors has been on our regulators’ radar screens for several years. With new rules proposed in October 2015, FINRA seeks to make investing safer for seniors and other vulnerable...more

10/28/2015 - Brokers Disclosure Requirements Elder Issues Exploitation FINRA Notice Requirements Policies and Procedures Proposed Regulation Recordkeeping Requirements Safe Harbors Supervision Training Requirements

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

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