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FinCEN is extending its campaign to press title insurance companies to reveal the real buyers behind shell companies that pay cash for high-end real estate deals in select cities around the country....more

Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Issues Risk Alert on the Five Most Frequent Compliance Topics Identified in...

On February 7, 2017, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (OCIE) published a Risk Alert listing of the five compliance topics most frequently identified in deficiency...more

OCIE Issues Alert on the Five Most Frequent Compliance Topics Identified in Examinations of Investment Advisers

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, or OCIE, has published a list of the five compliance topics most frequently identified in deficiency letters that are sent to SEC-registered investment advisers....more

Ten Investment Advisory Firms Violate SEC's Pay-to-Play Rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that ten investment advisory firms agreed to pay penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars to settle SEC charges that they violated the SEC’s pay-to-play rule,...more

SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Issues Risk Alert on Multi-Branch Adviser Initiative

Investment advisers registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may use a variety of business and organizational models, which may include structures with one or more branch offices. In announcing its...more

SEC Releases 16 New FAQs on Form PF

On January 18, 2017, the SEC released 16 new FAQs relating to Form PF. Of these 16, 3 relate to general filing information and the remaining 13 are specific to particular sections of Form PF. As a reminder, Rule 204(b)-1...more

Enforcement Focus on Advisers’ “Cherry-Picking” Continues

The SEC banned the managing member and chief compliance officer of a registered investment adviser from the securities industry for illegal “cherry-picking” investments among the adviser’s managed accounts. The SEC staff...more

Investment Management Update

SEC Issues Guidance on Mutual Fund Fee Structure - The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Investment Management recently issued a guidance update addressing disclosure issues and certain procedural...more

SEC, USAO Charge IA Who Covered-up Referral Fee

The cover-up is virtually always worse than the underlying conduct. History is replete with instances where improper or even wrongful conduct was severely aggravated by an effort to conceal the conduct. ...more

Court Upholds SEC on “Backtested” Investment Strategy Illustrations

An investment adviser seeking to show how a particular investment strategy would have performed during specified time periods would be well advised to: use only historical performance data and not a mix of historical...more

Orrick's Financial Industry Week in Review

FHFA Issues Final Rule on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Duty to Serve Underserved Markets - On December 13, 2016, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a final rule implementing the Duty to Serve provisions...more

SEC Issues No-Action Letter Regarding Relief from Registration under Advisers Act for Adviser to Affiliated Foundation

On December 8, 2016, the Chief Counsel’s Office of the Division of Investment Management of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission“) provided “no-action letter” assurance to CenturyLink Investment Management...more

SEC Charges Adviser With Concealing True Value of Accounts

When investment advisers and brokers misrepresent the value of the account to a client it is frequently because something untoward has occurred – huge trading losses, misappropriation or other malfeasance. The Commission’s...more

Hedge Fund Seeks Absolution from the SEC Claiming the Potential Pay-to-Play Penalty Doesn’t Fit the Violation

Pershing Square Capital Management has found itself in the unenviable position of having to seek absolution from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the consequences of an unintended $500 pay-to-play error by one of...more

SEC Principal Trading Rule Exemption Set to Expire at Year’s End

The staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stated in August that it intends to permit the expiration of rule 206(3)-3T (Rule) under the Investment Adviser Act of 1940 (Advisers Act). The SEC originally...more

The Trump Administration: Change By Appointment

The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, along with the Republican control of the majority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, will likely result in significant changes in...more

New FINRA Capital Acquisition Broker Rules May Offer Limited Relief to Private Investment Fund Advisers

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently approved a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) proposal to adopt a new regime for the regulation of electing broker-dealer firms that meet the...more

The Commission’s Latest Message Case on Investment Adviser Conflict Disclosure

For any investment adviser who has not lived in a cave the last few years, the SEC’s focus on conflicts of interest in the investment management industry comes as no surprise. More than a half century ago, the Supreme Court...more

Court Dismisses Claims Alleging that Yahoo Is Illegally Acting as an Unregistered Investment Company

Recently, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (the “Court”) dismissed claims against Yahoo, Inc., holding that a 16-year old exemption granted to Yahoo by the Securities and Exchange...more

SEC to Focus on Firms Hiring Those with Disciplinary History

SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) has recently issued a risk alert to registered investment advisers indicating their intent to focus on compliance oversight and controls with respect to the...more

Investment Management Update

Investment Adviser AXA Wins Excessive Fee Trial - A federal judge in New Jersey has ruled in favor of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (AXA Equitable) and its wholly owned subsidiary, AXA Equitable Funds Management...more

Mutual Fund Sales by Intermediaries – Fall-Out from DOL Fiduciary Rule and FINRA Enforcement

Mutual fund sales and distribution arrangements are once again under review. It has been reported that fund intermediaries are re-examining their practices relating to sales charges, share class structures and product...more

SEC's Focus on Private Equity Firms Continues with Recent Action

A settled enforcement action, announced by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on September 14, 2016, continues the trend of increased SEC scrutiny of private equity advisers concerning the allocation and...more

Regulatory Update and Recent SEC Enforcement Actions

On June 2, 2016, the SEC announced that it hired Christopher R. Hetner, a cybersecurity expert, as the Senior Adviser to the Chair for Cybersecurity Policy. The hire is indicative of the SEC’s focus on cybersecurity measures...more

The Evolution of Advice: Digital Investment Advisers as Fiduciaries

The landscape for investment advice is shifting, and an innovative model has emerged that combines technology and investment expertise to deliver high-quality advice at a lower cost than traditional investment advisory...more

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