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News & Analysis as of

SEC Staff Issues Guidance Update and Investor Bulletin on Robo-Advisers

On February 23, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC“) published information and guidance for investors and the financial services industry on the use of robo-advisers, described by the Staff as “registered...more

OCIE and FINRA Announce 2017 Examination and Regulatory Priorities

On January 4 and January 12, 2017, respectively, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) each...more

SEC Annual Exam Guidance: Cybersecurity, Robo-Advising, and Retirement

The SEC recently announced its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ (OCIE) 2017 priorities. Though these listed priorities are not exhaustive and remain flexible in light of market conditions, industry...more

2017 SEC Exam Priorities

The SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations recently released its 2017 Exam Priorities. This Client Alert summarizes the 2017 Exam Priorities and provides instructions on how to obtain Reed Smith’s new 2017 “CCO...more

Top FINRA Priorities for 2017

On January 4, FINRA released its Annual Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter, which outlines the areas it plans to review over the coming year.  FINRA President and CEO, Robert Cook, says that attention to these core...more

FINRA Issues 2017 Examination Priorities Letter

Introduction - Consistent with prior practice, with the arrival of the new year, FINRA has published its key examination priorities. As in prior years, the letter covers a broad array of topics. This year’s topics...more

My 2017 Crowdfunding Wish List

2016 brought with it many developments in the crowdfunding industry, most notably the introduction of the long-awaited Title III crowdfunding rules. While admittedly not all crowdfunding legislation passed this year was as...more

FINRA Investor Education Foundation Announces Investor Survey Results

On December 13, 2016, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation published Investors in the United States 2016 (the “Report”), which includes the results of its investor survey of 2,000 individuals from across the United States...more

FINRA Fine Addresses Broker Compensation and Conflicts of Interest

A recent enforcement action by FINRA underscores the regulator’s continuing concern regarding how financial advisers are paid to sell investment products. In a case announced on November 28, 2016, a member firm settled...more

PIABA Slams Broker-Check Again

The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) renewed its criticism of FINRA’s Broker-Check® system in a report issued in late October. PIABA was especially critical of the system’s: Lack of synchronization...more

Your Daily Dose of Financial News

Soooooo . . . about that whole Brexit thing. A UK High Court has ruled that Britain’s EU withdrawal cannot move forward without the approval of Parliament, setting off more uncertainty and what’s expected to be a series of...more

FINRA and SEC Announce Tick Size Pilot Program

On October 3, 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”)’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy issued an Investor Alert announcing a new National...more

Gatekeepers For Preventing Fraud: Educated Investors

The halting of another offering fraud on Friday by the SEC has, unfortunately, become routine. Offering frauds in which promoters take the hard earned dollars of investors and give them rosy dreams and worthless pieces of...more

FINRA to Assess Member Firms’ Culture

Speaking at the Brookings Institution this April, FINRA head Richard Ketchum emphasized the importance of a broker-dealer having a "culture" that favors the firm’s customers when their interests conflict with those of the...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 7

Financing Subsidiaries and SEC Registration - As readers of this publication know, in order to address the expected new U.S. regulatory capital requirements, a number of U.S. bank holding companies have been creating new...more

Equity For The Crowd

On May 16, 2016 the long awaited Crowdfunding rules became final. In some 680 pages of regulations, not to mention the length of the text of the enabling law, Congress and securities regulators have sought to balance the...more

NASAA Requests Comments on Proposed Policy Allowing Use of Electronic Offering Documents and Electronic Signatures

On May 2, 2016 the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) issued a release requesting public comments on a proposed Statement of Policy (SOP) that would allow issuers and its selling agents to use...more

Fifth Circuit: Diversity Jurisdiction Over FINRA Award Based on Demand

The Fifth Circuit Bar Association’s summary reports: “Appellants were investors who suffered financial losses as a result of R. Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme. In their arbitration complaint, they sought $80 million in...more

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

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 3

Structured Product Sales at Bank Branches: Networking- Arrangement Rules - Many broker-dealers engaged in the structured products industry are affiliates of large U.S. banks, which have a significant customer footprint....more

FINRA Arbitration Task Force Fails To Reach Consensus On Many Major Issues

The FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force issued its final report last week, making certain recommendations designed to improve the arbitration process. More notably, however, the Task Force reported that it was unable to reach...more

Crowdfunding Regulations

On October 30, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted final crowdfunding rules. More than two years after the publication of the proposed crowdfunding rules, the SEC approved regulations that permit...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 6, Issue 6

U.S. Structured Warrant Programs: Introduction - U.S. and non-U.S. banks have offered structured warrants in the U.S. to address the needs of both institutional and high-net worth investors. This article will...more

Investment Management Update - October 2015

Below is a summary of recent investment management developments that affect registered investment companies, private equity funds, hedge funds, investment advisers, and others in the investment management industry. Schwab...more

FINRA Proposes New Rule to Further Protect Seniors and Vulnerable Adults From Financial Exploitation

The Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) announced a new proposed rule that will allow member firms to place a temporary hold on a disbursement of funds or securities when the firm has a reasonable belief that...more

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Cybersecurity

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