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Oppenheimer Settles with SEC, FinCEN

Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. settled an action with the SEC centered on violations of the broker registration provisions, a failure to file suspicious activity reports or SARS and the sale of unregistered penny stock shares. The...more

SEC Grants Second Bad Actor Waiver With Conditions

SEC Commissioner Kara Stein recently described what many saw as a possible model for harsher bad actor waivers after settling a matter with the SEC. According to Ms. Stein “The waiver was for a limited time, and only if...more

SEC Files Prime Bank Fraud and Offering Fraud Actions as Administrative Proceedings

The trend of selecting administrative proceedings rather than Federal court by the SEC appears to be continuing. Since last September, for example, the SEC has filed at least seven insider trading cases as administrative...more

The SEC Totally Cares about Its Injunctions

Last week I wrote a post discussing the injunctions the SEC typically obtains against defendants in federal court. I noted the oddity of these obey-the-law injunctions and wondered aloud why the Commission never pursues...more

SEC & AGs Fine & Suspended S&P for MBS Rating Violations

The SEC and the Attorneys General of New York and Massachusetts this week fined Standard & Poor’s almost $77 million, suspended S&P from conduit-fusion CMBS ratings work for a year and imposed other undertakings, for...more

The SEC’s Telling Enforcement Shift

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 made numerous, and significant, changes to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulatory powers particularly with respect to regulated professionals...more

Third Circuit Defines “Extraterritorial” Applicability of Federal Securities Laws in United States v. Georgiou

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit added its voice yesterday to the ongoing judicial effort to construe the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank, concerning the extent to...more

SEC Fines Stock Exchanges

On January 12, the SEC fined two stock exchanges $14 million dollars for allegedly violating the Exchange Act by failing to accurately describe in their rules the order types being used on the exchanges. In its investigation,...more

SEC Finds Loan to Investment Adviser’s CEO a Conflict of Interest

Consulting Services Group, LLC, or CSG, was a registered investment adviser whose business included providing consulting services to public pension funds. These consulting services included recommending third-party investment...more

Bridging the Week - January 2015 #3

Cybersecurity, Potential Equity Order Routing Conflicts and AML Among the Top Examination Priorities for SEC in 2015 - The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations...more

The SEC Does Not Care about Its Injunctions

It won’t surprise you to learn that the U.S. Code includes this provision: “A court of the United States shall have power to punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority . . . as...more

House Passes Bill to Ease Volcker Rule and other Regulatory Requirements

The U.S. House of Representatives on January 14, 2015, voted (271-154) to pass H.R. 37, the “Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act.” If enacted, the bill, among other things, would extend the Volcker...more

2014 Top 10 SEC Enforcement Highlights

Mary Jo White was confirmed in April 2013 as Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), becoming the first former United States Attorney to serve in that role. Given her background, and despite criticism...more

SEC Charges Chilean Citizens With Insider Trading Concerning Tender Offer for Chilean

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that defendants, Juan Cruz Bilbao Hormaeche and Thomas Andres Hurtado Rourke, both Chilean...more

Representing Others Before The SEC

Not too long ago, I wrote about the Shareholder Rights Project (SRP) at Harvard Law School, noting that the SRP’s website and correspondence to the Securities and Exchange Commission explicitly stated that the SRP was...more

SEC Sanctions Two Exchanges for Failing to Accurately Describe Order Types and Making Preferential Disclosure to High Frequency...

On January 12, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had obtained a $14 million settlement against two exchanges formerly owned by Direct Edge Holdings, EDGA and EDGX (the “Respondent Exchanges”) for...more

Does SEC Enforcement Treat Bigger Companies Differently?

I’m stealing the title of this post from Broc Romanek, who asked this question on January 2nd. He was responding to a study authored by Jonas Heese, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who has authored a study...more

SEC Use of Administrative Proceedings Challenged Again

The SEC was granted authority in the Dodd-Frank Act to initiate administrative proceedings against non-regulated persons. In those proceedings the full range of remedies are available – a cease-and-desist order, disgorgement,...more

SEC Seeks Serious Penalties Against Sands Brothers and its Senior Officers for Alleged Repeated Custody Rule Violations - Former...

On October 29, 2014, the SEC announced that it had instituted administrative proceedings under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 against Sands Brothers Asset Management LLC (Sands Brothers), its two co-founders and the...more

This Week In Securities Litigation (Holiday wrap-up edition)

Through the holidays (Dec. 19 – 31, 2014) the Department of Justice and the SEC continued to file securities enforcement actions. The Department brought an FCPA case which is now number two on the top ten list for amounts...more

This “Appeal” Of Whole Foods’ No-Action Letter Isn’t Very Appealing

Last week, James McRitchie submitted an “appeal” of the staff’s grant of no-action advice to Whole Foods Market, Inc. As explained in a post by Broc Romanek, Whole Foods was able to obtain that staff’s concurrence in...more

SEC Settles FCPA Charges Against Global Manufacturer

On December 15, the SEC settled charges against a global manufacturer for allegedly violating the FCPA by providing non-business payments and travel expenses to Chinese government officials with the expectation of obtaining...more

Top 5 Securities and Corporate Governance Litigation Developments of 2014

This year will be remembered as the year of the Super Bowl of securities litigation, Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. (“Halliburton II”), 134 S. Ct. 2398 (2014), the case that finally gave the Supreme Court the...more

Alstom Joins Santa’s Naughty List – In a Very Big Way

The North Pole for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action announcements seems to have temporarily moved south for the month of December. Last week there was the final announcement of the long-standing Avon...more

A New Prosecutorial Frontier: SEC Seeks Bans on Municipal Officials

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) was recently granted a preliminary agreement by a federal judge to bar a municipal official from participating in future bond sales. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the...more

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