Securities Administrative Agency

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Searching for Greener Pastures: SEC Insider Trading Enforcement in a Post-Newman Era

In United States v. Newman, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dealt a substantial blow to federal prosecutors’ epic crackdown on insider trading by raising the bar for the government’s burden of proof in...more

Whole Foods’ Proposal for Proxy Access Is Sufficient to Exclude Shareholder Proposal

In a closely watched development, the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance Staff (Staff) granted no-action relief in early December to Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Whole Foods, or the Company) in response to the Company’s...more

Investment Management Director Offers Top 10 Lessons Learned in 2014

In a December 10, 2014 speech, Norm Champ, the Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, offered a glimpse at the top 10 industry lessons learned in 2014. While admitting that his Top Ten list “may not be as...more

SEC Seeks To “Overrule” Fifth Circuit Whistleblower Interpretation

In Asadi v. G.E. Energy United States, L.L.C., 720 F.3d 620 (5th Cir. 2013), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an employee who reported a suspected Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violation internally but not to the...more

Suit to Enjoin SEC Forum Selection Dismissed

Many have expressed concern regarding the increasing use of administrative proceedings by the SEC. Those concerns range from the fairness of the forum to the impact of its lack of discovery on complex cases to the right to a...more

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update -- December 2014

In This Issue: - Regulation ..SEC Chair’s Agenda Provides Glimpse of New Rules to Come ..The Results Are In: Investors Favor Additional Regulatory Protection ..SEC Declines to Approve Non-Transparent...more

Forum Selection For SEC Cases – District Court or Administrative Proceeding?

In late September the SEC filed a settled insider trading case against an associate of an unregistered investment adviser. In the Matter of Richard O’Leary, Adm. Proc. File No. 3-16166 (September 25, 2014). The next week the...more

SEC’s Administrative Proceedings: Where One Stands Appears to Depend on Where One Sits

As we have previously reported, practitioners and judges alike have recently been questioning the SEC’s increased use of administrative proceedings. Defense lawyers complain that administrative proceedings, which have...more

Financial Regulatory Developments Focus - December 2014 #2

In this issue: - Bank Prudential Regulation & Regulatory Capital - Bank Structure - Derivatives - Financial Market Infrastructure - Financial Services - People - Events...more

Should Judicial Deference To The SEC Be Strong, Weak or Non-Existent?

This post yesterday by Broc Romanek alerted me to Judge Leonard P. Stark’s recent opinion in Trinity Wall Street v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165431 (D. Del. Nov. 26, 2014). The case involved Wal-Mart’s...more

Safeguarding a Whistleblower’s Identity

Everyone knows that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act prohibits retaliation against whistleblowers. It may be less obvious, however, that merely disclosing a whistleblower’s identity can constitute prohibited retaliation. Nevertheless,...more

"MSRB Proposes Amendments Establishing Municipal Advisor Professional and Supervisory Qualification Requirements"

On November 19, 2014, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) announced that it submitted for approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed amendments to MSRB Rule G-3 to establish professional...more

SEC’s Authority to Interpret the Securities Laws Comes Under Fire in Criminal Enforcement

A recent statement by Justice Antonin Scalia accompanying the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in a criminal insider trading case raises fundamental questions about how the courts interpret the federal securities laws and...more

Three Principals of Adviser Settle SEC Charges Over Undisclosed Conflicts

The Commission filed another settled action based on undisclosed conflicts involving an investment adviser. In this proceeding Respondents, principals of the adviser, failed to disclose a fee splitting arrangement with an...more

Critics Question SEC’s Increasing Use of Administrative Enforcement Proceedings

The SEC is increasingly bringing enforcement actions in its administrative forum rather than federal district court, setting the stage for a legal and policy battle over this tactic. The SEC’s approach has been made...more

Conflict Minerals: D.C. Circuit to Reconsider Conflict Minerals Ruling; Initiatives Proceed in the European Union and China

Recent developments in the U.S., European Union and China underscore the dynamic nature of evolving supply chain due diligence requirements and expectations for companies sourcing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The...more

The Regulators Are Coming! The Regulators Are Coming!

Regulators, in-house lawyers and compliance officers told a serious cautionary tale at the recent Practicing Law Institute Broker-Dealer Regulation and Enforcement seminar. Representatives of the Securities and Exchange...more

Will The Courts Stop Deferring To SEC Interpretations?

In 1984, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a foundational principle of administrative law. When a court reviews an agency’s construction of a statute that it administers, the court should...more

Alberta Securities Commission Applies to SCC for Leave to Appeal Insider Trading Decision in Walton

The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the August 2014 decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal (Court) in Walton v Alberta (Securities Commission), 2014 ABCA 723...more

5th Circuit: Outing Whistleblower Equals Adverse Action

On November 12, 2014, in Halliburton, Inc. v. Admin. Review Bd., 5th Cir. No. 13-cv-60323, the Fifth Circuit affirmed an ARB’s decision that disclosing the identity of a whistleblower may constitute an “adverse action” under...more

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Document Preservation Notices Can Lead to SOX Violation!

On November 12, 2014, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Department of Labor finding that Halliburton retaliated against a whistleblower by including his name in a document preservation notice. The court also held that emotional...more

Revealing Whistleblower’s Identity is Retaliation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that revealing a whistleblower’s identity is prohibited retaliation under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in Halliburton, Inc. v. Administrative Review Board, United States...more

Recent Key Bitcoin and Virtual Currency Regulatory and Law Enforcement Developments

In recent months, US federal and state regulators have continued to focus on Bitcoin and the adoption of a regulatory framework for it and other "virtual currencies," as well as the enforcement of existing securities laws to...more

The Results Are In: Investors Favor Additional Regulatory Protection

On November 6, 2014, FINRA released results from a survey of U.S. investors measuring the demand for additional regulatory protections. The survey polled 1,000 adults and revealed that an overwhelming majority felt that it...more

SEC’s Increased Use of Administrative Proceedings Draws Criticism and Legal Challenges

The SEC’s plan to bring more enforcement actions as administrative proceedings before its own administrative law judges rather than in the federal district courts — even in insider trading cases — has been drawing increasing...more

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