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"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

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

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

The SEC and the DMV

“The SEC Should Copy the DMV” is the title of an article published in the New York Times by Joseph S. Fichera recently. The article focuses on the use of corporate fines, questioning whether they are effective: “The SEC and...more

SEC Files Another Insider Trading Case As An Administrative Action

The SEC continued what appears to be a growing trend of bringing insider trading cases as administrative proceedings. Since the beginning of September the Commission has filed at least four insider trading actions as...more

SEC Settlement with Layne Christensen Raises New Questions on the Government’s Understanding of the Business Nexus Element of the...

Last week the SEC settled charges against Layne Christensen for various violations of the FCPA. While a relatively unremarkable case at first glance, the SEC’s charges against Layne Christensen reflect a troubling approach by...more

SEC Provides Relief to GSEC From Rule 204 Close-Out Requirements

On October 27, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets (Division) issued no-action relief to Goldman Sachs Execution & Clearing (GSEC) relating to the close-out requirements of Rule 204. In...more

SEC Sanctions Auditor, Should Make Small Issuers Think Twice

The SEC brought a settled administrative action against an auditor on October 24th. Often I’ll take a case like this and write something about it to warn other auditors (or investment advisers or broker-dealers, or whomever)...more

Three Take-aways from the SEC’s Six-Month Report on Administrative Proceedings

By rule, the SEC is required to issue a report on the Commission’s administrative proceedings caseload every six months. On October 29, 2014, the SEC issued its most recent report covering the six month period from April 1,...more

SEC: Non-Transparent ETFs Not Ready for Prime Time

The SEC has given a preliminary thumbs-down to non-transparent exchange traded funds (ETFs). In two separate notices issued on October 21, 2014, the Commission stated that applications to allow actively managed ETFs to...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The Commission brought a series of administrative proceedings this week and one civil injunctive action. The civil injunctive action was an insider trading case. The administrative proceedings centered on FCPA violations, the...more

Financial Services Weekly News Roundup - October 2014 #5

In this issue: - In preliminarily denying two exemption requests, the SEC takes a stand for market transparency in ETFs and upholds the arbitrage mechanism that allows market prices to closely track NAVs. -...more

SEC Charges Recidivist Adviser, Co-Founders With Violations of Custody Rule

The SEC has brought a number of custody rule cases as part of its broken windows initiative. Its newest proceeding centered on the custody rule, however, is a contested administrative proceeding which names as Respondents an...more

Commissioner’s Concerns About Civil Penalties Temper SEC’s Release of FY14 Enforcement Results

On October 16, the SEC publicized its preliminary enforcement results for fiscal year 2014. In what it described as a “successful enforcement year,” the Commission brought a record 755 actions and obtained $4.16 billion in...more

Rengan Rajaratnam Settlement Exposes Weak Point in SEC’s Newish Admissions Policy

You remember Rengan Rajaratnam, right? He broke the S.D.N.Y.’s long streak of insider trading victories when a jury acquitted him in July. I wondered what the effect on his case with the SEC would be. Would he settle? ...more

Adjudicate or Rule Make? That May Not Be A Question For The Courts

Professor Stephen Bainbridge yesterday passed along Henry G. Manne’s criticism of the SEC’s use of adjudication in lieu of rulemaking. For those who haven’t taken my Administrative Law class, there are actually two types of...more

SEC Issues Risk Alert, Smacks E*Trade on Penny Stock Sales

On October 9th the SEC brought a settled administrative action against E*Trade Securities and G1 Execution Services (formerly E*Trade Capital Markets) for their part in the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny...more

Adviser, Co-founder, Settle SEC Breach of Duty Proceeding

The Commission filed settled administrative proceedings against an investment adviser and its co-founder based on a claimed breach of fiduciary duty. The Order alleged violations based on negligence, citing Securities Act...more

Surge in FOIA Requests to State Agencies Seeking Information About PE and Other Alternative Investment Fund Sponsors

We have recently observed a surge in freedom-of-information (“FOIA”) requests made by media outlets to state pension funds and other state-government-affiliated investment entities. Although the requests have so far...more

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