Conflicts of Interest

News & Analysis as of

FINRA Sanctions 10 Banks for Conflicts-Of-Interest Violations

On December 11, FINRA fined 10 financial firms a total of $43.5 million dollars for allegedly violating the industry-regulator’s conflict of interest rules. According to FINRA, in pitch meetings, the firms’ equity research...more

FINRA Proposes Changes to the Equity Research Analyst and Equity Research Report Rule

On November 18, 2014, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) filed a proposed rule change with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) to adopt NASD Rule 2711 as new FINRA Rule 2241 with...more

Hidden Traps: Subject Matter Conflicts of Interest in Patent Prosecution

Attorneys who have been practicing for more than a day are familiar with the process of conflicts of interest searches. A new client comes into the office or firm, the attorney or conflicts team searches a client database for...more

Points & Authorities - Fall 2014

In This Issue: - Legal Considerations for Web Based Start-Ups - California’s Water Anxiety Prompts Landmark Groundwater Legislation - Points from the President - Factor Beware: A Judgment Lien...more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The SEC filed a series of actions in the last two weeks which included a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. One action focused on a Swiss investment firm giving advise in the U.S. without registering with the Commission....more

GAO report shines spotlight on key issues for managed accounts in 401(k) plans

Most professionals who work in the 401(k) arena would agree that managed accounts are, on balance, a favorable development for 401(k) plan participants. However, such accounts are, in many ways, still in their infancy,...more

Appearance and Perception of a Conflict of Interest: Whose View?

Conflict of interest provisions are best when they are clear and set certain boundaries. The appearance and perception of a conflict doesn’t mean that a conflict of interest exists. Appearances can be misconstrued or...more

It Is Now a Crime to Help a Public Official Make a Contract that Holds Personal Financial Interest

California Legislature Expands Government Code Section 1090 Liability to Those Who Aid and Abet - An amendment to Government Code section 1090 now makes it a felony for any person to aid and abet a government official...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

Delaware Court of Chancery Applies Business Judgment Rule to Directors Who Approve Merger Supported by Large Shareholders

In its October 24, 2014, decision in In re Crimson Exploration Inc. Stockholder Litigation, C.A. No. 8541, the Delaware Court of Chancery confirmed that the business judgment rule is applicable in evaluating claims for breach...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

Community Redevelopment Law Conflict-of-Interest Rules Apply to Successor Agencies

California Attorney General Weighs In on Rule That Will Impact Members of Successor Agencies’ Governing Boards and Employees - The California Attorney General recently opined that the conflict-of-interest rules under...more

Derailing an Expert in the Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation: What Every Litigator Needs to Know

The business of buying, selling, investing in, and arbitraging legal claims continues to grow, and carries with it hidden pitfalls. This is particularly the case when a litigation expert has a business relationship with a...more

New York Appellate Court Dismisses Claims Against Reinsurer And Its Claims Administrator

In what began as a dispute between OneBeacon America Insurance Company and its insured, Colgate, over OneBeacon’s asserted right to control the defense of claims against Colgate in connection with numerous personal injury...more

California Attorney General Offers Guidance on Scope of Government Code Section 1090

Pair of Recent Opinions Clarifies Conflict-of-Interest Statute - California Attorney General Kamala Harris recently issued two opinions illuminating the scope of Government Code section 1090, the powerful and...more

Social Media Risk: Forget the Constraints and Open the Employee Conversation

By now, we all have at least one example of how social media can turn into a double-edged sword for organizations. Personal favorites include the SEC’s investigation (and ultimate non-action) regarding Netflix CEO Reed...more

Early Preview of 2015 SEC Exam Priorities

The SEC continues to set its sights on certain types of funds that it believes may present a higher risk of conflict of interest and confusion in the way they are designed and marketed. After signaling earlier this year that...more

The General Counsel Is Not The Shareholders’ Agent

A recent paper by Adair Morse, Wei Wang, and Serena Wu, Executive Gatekeepers: Useful and Divertible Governance, tackles interesting questions about the the effectiveness of internal gatekeepers and the impact of equity...more

A Compilation of Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions

Non-Enforcement - Cost of Proposed User Fees by Registered Investment Advisers Further Discussed - SEC Valuation Guidance for All Funds - Update on Insider Trading in Mutual Fund...more

Tips for Managing and Disclosing Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest arise in any relationship where a duty of care or trust exists between two or more parties. For financial services companies the identification and management of conflicts of interest must be a core...more

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update -- September 2014

In This Issue: - Regulation: Long-Awaited Money Market Fund Rules Adopted - SEC Staff Offers Guidance Regarding Investment Advisers and Proxy Advisory Firms - SEC Staff Closes Loophole on BDC Asset...more

SEC Continues Crackdown on Investment Advisers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is continuing to pursue enforcement actions that focus on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of economic benefit disclosures – both to clients and in public filings. ...more

SEC Proceedings Against IAs Center On Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest are at the center of two administrative proceedings recently instituted by the SEC. One involved the failure to adequately disclose the conflict. The other focuses on a failure to institute appropriate...more

Conflict of Interest Toolkit: Tips for Recognizing, Avoiding, and Responding to Conflicts

Organizational conflict of interest abounds. On any given day, news media often report at least one story about a potential conflict of interest. And no industry or type of employer has a monopoly on conflicts....more

Insurer’s “Reservation of Rights” Creates a Conflict of Interest, Entitling the Insured to Independent Defense Counsel

In case that has been widely watched by Minnesota insureds and insurers alike, a federal district court ruled Tuesday that an insurer’s “reservation of rights” letter created a conflict of interest, thereby permitting the...more

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