Broker-Dealer

News & Analysis as of

SEC Probes Retirement Advice

The SEC has been sending lengthy sweep examination letters to many registered investment advisers (RIAs) and broker-dealers, requesting a broad variety of information regarding retirement plan advice. A form of the...more

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

Fair Access to Investment Research Act of 2016 Passes Muster in U.S. House of Representatives

On April 28, 2016, the U.S. House of Representative passed the Fair Access to Investment Research Act of 2016 (H.R. 5019) by a vote of 411 to 6. This bill directs the SEC to amend its regulations under the Securities Act of...more

Joint Notice: MSRB and FINRA Increasing Scrutiny of Private Bank Placements

Direct lending by banks has proliferated in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market as states, local governments and non-profits find that they can borrow, in the form of direct loans, at interest rates comparable to those on...more

House of Representatives Passes the HALOS Act; Fair Access to Investment Research Act of 2016 is Introduced

On April 27, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups Act (H.R. 4498) (the “HALOS Act”), which was first introduced on April 16, 2015. The HALOS Act directs the SEC to amend Regulation D...more

New PTEs Impact Broker’s and Advisor’s Relationship with Retirement Plans and IRAs and Also Impact Plan Sponsors and Fiduciaries

While only the plan service providers, like brokers, are required to comply with the requirements of the revised and new prohibited transaction class exemptions contained in the package with the definition of...more

"Labor Department Redefines ‘Fiduciary’ for ERISA and Internal Revenue Code Purposes"

On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a widely anticipated final regulation that redefines who is a “fiduciary” of certain employee benefit and other plans for purposes of the Employee Retirement Income...more

Broker Compensation-Disclosure Rule Approved by the SEC

It is not uncommon for registered representatives to change broker-dealers over the course of their career. In most cases, their customers will typically switch firms as well, as they follow their representative to wherever...more

FINRA Targets AML Programs and “Culture of Compliance” as 2016 Enforcement Priority, Particularly for High-Risk Broker/Dealers

Under Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) authorization, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) is “responsible for regulating (1) all securities firms that do business with the public[,]” (2) key stock...more

“Best Interests” of Investors and Employees

Ima Knowitall, owner of All My Business Ideas (AMBI), just read the Wall Street Journal article on new Department of Labor (DOL) regulations and called her financial advisor, Phillip Coffers. Mindful of last fall’s Tilting...more

Not Just the C-Suite: Regulators Issue Broad New Proposed Rule on Banker Compensation

In a joint release, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury; Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Federal Housing Finance Agency; National Credit Union...more

News Alert – Employer Action Required Following Issuance of Final Rule

On April 8, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) released the much anticipated final regulation to broaden the scope of fiduciary status under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal...more

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

The Wait Is Over – the DOL Announces New Rules Impacting Broker Regulation

The Department of Labor recently enacted rules that require financial advisers and brokers handling individual retirement and 401(k) accounts to act in the best interests of their clients. The much-anticipated rules have...more

SEC Brings Enforcement Action Against a Broker-Dealer for Weak Cybersecurity Controls

On April 12, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) continued its enforcement of reasonable cybersecurity controls, announcing cease and desist proceedings against a broker-dealer and two of its principals...more

Wisconsin Broker-Dealers Will Owe Fiduciary Duties for Retirement Investment Advice

Wisconsin is home to over 10,000 registered broker-dealers, all of whom currently operate without owing federally imposed fiduciary duties. Unlike some of their peers in other states, Wisconsin broker-dealers generally do not...more

U.S. Department of Labor Finalizes Fiduciary Definition and Conflict of Interest Rule

On April 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (Department) issued its highly anticipated final rule addressing when a person is considered to be a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)...more

Ketchum Clarifies How FINRA Will Assess a Firm’s Culture of Compliance

In an April 15, 2016 speech to the Brookings Institution, FINRA CEO Richard G. Ketchum addressed the fundamental question of whether the equity markets are sufficiently fair, flexible, and efficient to encourage the...more

"SEC Extends Comment Period on Proposed FINRA Pay-to-Play Rule "

On March 29, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an order instituting proceedings (the Order) intended to determine whether to approve or disapprove Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)...more

Shopping for Startups – SEC Offers Additional Guidance for Intermediary Crowdfunding Portals

I previously wrote about the new rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) allowing startups to utilize crowdfunding platforms to sell an equity stake in their business to investors in exchange for working...more

Department of Labor Issues Long-Awaited Fiduciary Rule

The new standard requires broker-dealers providing advice with respect to IRAs to put their client’s interests ahead of their own. The U.S. Department of Labor released new rules on April 6 that materially enlarge the...more

FinCEN Proposes Imposing BSA Requirements on Crowdfunding Portals

On April 4, FinCEN issued a proposed rule to amend the definitions of “broker or dealer in securities” and “broker-dealer” under the regulations implementing the BSA. Specifically, FinCEN proposed that the definitions be...more

SEC Files Another In A Series of Actions Tied to Secret Commissions

The Commission brought another in a series of actions centered on ConvergEx Execution Solutions LLC and its affiliates. As with the prior actions, this one centered on secretly adding substantial commissions to transactions...more

FinCEN Proposes Funding Portals Regulations under Bank Secrecy Act

On April 4, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury (“FinCEN”), proposed amendments to the definitions of ‘‘broker or dealer in securities’’ and ‘‘broker-dealer’’ under the...more

SEC and FDIC Propose Dodd-Frank Broker-Dealer Resolution Rules

Troubled financial institutions, some with substantial broker dealer operations, played a prominent role in the 2008 financial crisis. In an effort to protect the financial system from serious threats posed by significant...more

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