News & Analysis as of

Unregistered Brokers: Watch out for Shortcuts

One of the things I’ve learned since returning to private practice three years ago is that people like to raise money for profitable enterprises when they can. And why not? It can be lucrative. And if the people raising...more

Securities Litigation Update

The summer may feel like a more leisurely time of year, but not in securities litigation news. Here are some of the more significant headlines...more

Foreign Brokers Doing Business in the United States

Foreign brokers that engage in securities transactions with U.S. investors based in the United States must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There are two major exceptions to this rule. The...more

U.S. Brokers Doing Business Overseas

Recently, regulators have made inquiries about the lawfulness of U.S. brokerage firms soliciting foreign clients. The regulators want to know under what exemptions or rules U.S. firms can do business overseas. This is a new...more

FINRA Announces and Publishes Its Sweep of Order Routing Practices

FINRA announced this week that it is conducting a review of its member firms’ order-routing processes and procedures and the execution quality of customer orders in exchange-listed stocks. We previously reported in this...more

STOA Schemes Face Increased Regulatory Scrutiny

Increased SEC and Justice Department prosecution is bad news for stranger-originated annuity (STOA) schemes. The SEC recently announced that enforcement actions were taken against brokers Michael A. Horowitz of California and...more

Certain Merger and Acquisition Brokers Escape SEC Registration

The SEC recently issued a no-action letter that allows private company M&A brokers who satisfy specific criteria to avoid registering as broker-dealers with the SEC. Historically, an intermediary in a private M&A transaction...more

Broker, Two Employees Alleged to Violate SEC Market Access Rule

The Commission’s inspection program, conducted by the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations or OCIE, has been the source of a number of enforcement actions. One example is the recently filed case against dark pool...more

Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter #40

We are pleased to present the 40th edition of the Bernstein Shur Business and Commercial Litigation Newsletter. This month, we discuss fee shifting provisions in corporate bylaws, the settlement of high stakes smartphone...more

Compliance Matters: Prior Disclosure = Future Exposure?

Broker and broker-dealer information is generally a few keystrokes or mouse-clicks away for anyone with an Internet connection, and regulators are working to shorten those paths. The information available is just as expansive...more

This Week In Securities Litigation (Week ending May 16, 2014)

The Commission got split decisions in court this week. It prevailed in one high profile trial, obtaining a jury verdict in its favor. It lost a significant summary judgment motion regarding the statute of limitations...more

Private Equity Newsletter - May 2014

A no-action letter recently issued by the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets is a welcome development in the private equity world as it permits “M&A Brokers,” subject to conditions, to provide advice regarding certain...more

Specific Steps Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers Should Take in Response to the SEC’s Cybersecurity Initiative

On April 15, 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) released a Risk Alert announcing its Cybersecurity Initiative....more

SEC Settles Spoofing, Unregistered Broker Charges

High speed trading and its impact on the markets is the topic de jour. Author Michael Lewis claims the markets are “rigged,” a statement which no doubt will help sell his latest book centered on high speed trading. Now the...more

FAQ's on FINRA's Broker Compensation Proposal

On March 10, 2014, FINRA filed proposed Rule 2243 with the SEC. The proposed rule would require firms and registered reps to disclose certain financial incentives offered to reps in connection with a change in employment and...more

SEC Provides Relief for Private Company M&A Brokers

On Jan. 31, 2014, the SEC issued a no-action letter that permits private company M&A brokers to avoid registration with the SEC as broker-dealers under certain circumstances. However, business brokers should understand that...more

Private Company M&A Brokers Exempt from SEC Registration

The SEC has granted relief to Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) advisory firms to allow them to facilitate private company M&A transactions and receive transaction-based fees without registering as broker-dealers. It has long...more

M&A Brokers for Private Companies Need Not Register with the SEC

The staff of the SEC recently issued a no-action letter permitting an "M&A Broker" to advise on and be compensated in connection with the purchase and sale of a privately held company without registering as a broker-dealer...more

SEC No-Action Letter Provides Relief for M&A Brokers

On January 31, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a ground-breaking no-action letter (“SEC Letter”) stating that a financial intermediary that limits its business activity to advising privately held companies...more

SEC Issues Ground-Breaking Guidance: Pierce Atwood Business Counselor Q1 2014

Historically, subject to only very limited and narrow exceptions, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and many state securities regulators, have taken the position that brokers, finders and other intermediaries could not...more

Business Brokers Get “No-Action” Relief from SEC

Business intermediaries who facilitate the purchase or sale of privately-held businesses for a success fee based on the size of the completed acquisition may no longer have to be concerned about registering as broker-dealers...more

SEC Action Targets Unregistered Cross-Border Brokerage, Investment Advisory Services

On February 21, the SEC released an administrative order against a foreign financial institution that provided cross-border securities services to thousands of U.S. clients. The SEC asserted that the institution’s employees...more

FINRA Proposes Significant Changes To Regulatory Regime For Limited Corporate Financing Brokers

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has issued Regulatory Notice 14-09 soliciting comments on a proposed new regulatory structure for firms that limit their activities to advising companies and private equity funds...more

Limited Corporate Financing Brokers

FINRA published Regulatory Notice 14-09 to solicit comments regarding a series of new rules that would be applicable to firms that perform certain limited functions. FINRA is proposing to establish a new, reduced regulatory...more

SEC No-Action Letter Exempts M&A Brokers from Federal Registration Requirements

On February 3, 2013, the Security and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Division of Trading and Markets publically issued a significant no-action letter advising that M&A brokers do not need to register as broker-dealers to...more

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