Morrison & Foerster LLP - Broker-Dealer Compliance + Regulation

SEC Charges Private Fund Administrator with “Gatekeeper Failures”

Add fund administrators to the list of service providers the SEC expects to act as “gatekeepers.” In two separate settled actions last week, the SEC found that a private fund administrator “caused” the managers’ unregistered…more
| Business Organizations, Commercial Law & Contracts, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

SEC Staff Throws Funds a Lifeline on Auditor Independence (For Now)

The SEC’s Division of Investment Management provided temporary relief from the headache created for funds when the failure to meet the provisions of the so-called “loan rule” may disqualify fund auditors from being independent…more
| Business Organizations, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

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, the…more
| Business Torts, Commercial Law & Contracts, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

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, led…more
| Finance & Banking, Labor & Employment Law, Securities Law

MJW to FSOC:  We’re On It

In a keynote address before the Investment Company Institute on May 20, 2016, SEC Chair Mary Jo White signaled to the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel (FSOC) that the SEC is “working hard” to finalize rules that address…more
| Business Organizations, Commercial Law & Contracts, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

FINRA Proposes Amendments to its New Debt Research Rule

On May 24, 2016, FINRA proposed amendments to its new debt research rule (Rule 2422). The amendments are intended to clarify Rule 2422 in four respects: (1) the consent requirement for institutional debt research reports…more
| Business Organizations, Finance & Banking, International Law & Trade, Securities Law

“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
| Business Organizations, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

SEC Approves FINRA’s Educational Communication Rule

The SEC recently approved FINRA’s new Rule 2273 (Educational Communication Related to Recruitment Practices and Account Transfers), which requires delivery of an educational communication prepared by FINRA to customers of a…more
| Commercial Law & Contracts, Consumer Protection, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

DOL Releases Final Fiduciary Duty Rule

Today, the US Department of Labor released the final fiduciary duty rule.  The DOL has posted the rule text and the text of the exemptions on its site.  Here are links directly to the text of the rules and exemptions..…more
| Business Organizations, Finance & Banking, Labor & Employment Law, Securities Law

CFTC Announces Its Largest Whistleblower Award to Date

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) yesterday announced by far its largest whistleblower award to date, agreeing to pay “more than $10 million” to a whistleblower who provided key information leading to a…more
| Business Organizations, Securities Law

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
| Finance & Banking, Securities Law

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
| Business Torts, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

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 would…more
| Finance & Banking, Securities Law

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
| Commercial Law & Contracts, Finance & Banking, Securities Law

“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
| Business Organizations, Finance & Banking, Securities Law
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