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SEC Chairman Clayton Addresses Senate Committee

On September 26, 2017, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton delivered to the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs his first testimony as Chairman. ...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 8, Issue 7

LIBOR: The End Game - Since the announcement on July 27, 2017 by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) that the LIBOR rate would be phased out after 2021, much has been written about the complications of switching...more

FINRA Fines Broker-Dealers for Sales of Non-Traditional ETFs

In August 2017, FINRA entered into a consent agreement with a Georgia-based broker-dealer arising from improper practices and procedures relating to its sales of leveraged ETFs. The sales included ETFs that were leveraged,...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 8, Issue 4

FINRA’s Proposed Amendments to the Corporate Financing Rules – Impact on Structured Notes - In April 2017, FINRA released a set of significant proposed amendments to its Rule 5110, known as the “Corporate Financing Rule.” ...more

FINRA Observes Second Anniversary of Its Senior Helpline

On April 21, 2017, FINRA issued a press release marking the second anniversary of its Securities Helpline for Seniors. ...more

FINRA Revises Its Sanction Guidelines

In April 2017, FINRA announced that it had revised its sanction guidelines for violations of its rules. The new revisions, among other things...more

4/19/2017  /  Broker-Dealer , FINRA , Sanctions

Examination Priorities for 2017 from FINRA and OCIE

In these uncertain times, the predictability and regularity of the annual priorities letters from FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) is...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 8, Issue 2

Identifying Conflicts of Interest in Structured Products Offerings - With FINRA and other regulators focused on conflicts of interest in the broker-dealer industry, market participants are working diligently to identify...more

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update – February 2017

REGULATION - DOL Issues Additional Guidance on Fiduciary Rule - On January 13, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a second set of guidance on its new fiduciary rules, which are scheduled to become...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 8, Issue 1

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds SEC’s Backtesting Finding - In a 2016 case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, a former investment adviser lost a petition to review and vacate the decision of an SEC...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

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

Inside FINRA’s “Cross-Selling Sweep”

In response to recent highly-publicized scrutiny of bank cross-selling practices, FINRA announced in October 2016 that it is conducting a sweep of broker-dealers to determine the extent to which they are...more

11/3/2016  /  Banks , Broker-Dealer , Cross-Selling , FINRA

FINRA Proposes Rules to Protect Seniors from Financial Exploitation

In October 2016, FINRA filed with the SEC proposed rules designed to help brokers protect seniors and other vulnerable adults from financial exploitation. The proposal would amend existing customer account information rules...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 10

FINRA Revises its Proposed Amendments to Rule 2210 - In our recent Client Alert, we wrote about the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.’s proposed changes to Rule 2210, Communications with the Public. One of...more

Investment Management Legal + Regulatory Update - August 2016

Regulation - Next on the SEC’s Regulatory Agenda: A Chief Valuation Officer? - First, the SEC required funds to designate a chief compliance officer. Then, the SEC proposed that funds designate a liquidity...more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 8

Brexit and Structured Products: A Framework for Considering Disclosures - The U.K.’s recent referendum to withdraw from the European Union has affected virtually all segments of the financial industry. The structured...more

FINRA Study of Financial Literacy: Many Investors May Not Have It

In July 2016, FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation released the findings from its National Financial Capability Study. The study suggests that, while in some ways Americans have increased their financial literacy, too...more

FINRA Sanctions Investment Firm Following Unsuitable Sales of Nontraditional ETFs

On June 7, 2016, FINRA settled proceedings against a New York-based investment firm for alleged violations of its suitability and related rules, namely NASD Rule 2310 and FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010. According to FINRA,...more

Massachusetts Securities Division Searches for Rogue Brokers

According to news reports, the Massachusetts Securities Division (the “Division”) recently sent a “sweep letter” to firms asking broker-dealers to report information about their hiring policies and procedures. The Division,...more

“It’s Not a Culture War” – Yet?

On May 23, 2016, at FINRA’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., Richard Ketchum, FINRA’s chairman and CEO, delivered a speech that shed a little light on FINRA’s recent sweep letter relating to firm culture....more

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Special Issue: Implications of the DOL Fiduciary Rule for...

On April 6, 2016, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its final conflict of interest regulations, which significantly expand who is considered a fiduciary when dealing with a retirement account. The new regulations,...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

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

4/21/2016  /  Broker-Dealer , CFTC , Crowdfunding , Derivatives , DOL , ERISA , FINRA , SEC

Structured Thoughts: News for the financial services community, Volume 7, Issue 4

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

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