Corporate Defense and Disputes

Important developments in U.S. securities law, white collar criminal defense, regulatory enforcement and other emerging issues impacting financial services institutions, publicly traded companies and private investment funds

Tag Archives: FINRA

SEC Continues to Use Advanced Data Analytics to Investigate Insider Trading

The SEC has continued to pursue a number of insider trading cases this year, both large-scale and small. Some of those matters involved trades that yielded relatively small amounts of profits: $40,000-$60,000. Why does the enforcement division spend resources on these smaller cases? First, they serve as a reminder that violations can be identified, even … Continue Reading

Ketchum Clarifies How FINRA Will Assess a Firm’s Culture of Compliance

In an April 15, 2016 speech to the Brookings Institution, FINRA CEO Richard G. Ketchum addressed the fundamental question of whether the equity markets are sufficiently fair, flexible, and efficient to encourage the participation of retail investors.   Ketchum described the substantial concerns of some investors regarding these issues and outlined recent action by FINRA to … Continue Reading

FINRA’s 2016 Examination Priorities Identifies New Initiatives on Market Integrity and Firm Culture and Further Concern on Supervision and Controls

The recently issued 2016 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter discloses FINRA’s new initiatives on market integrity and firm culture and reflects a focus on firms’ supervision regarding conflicts of interest and technology. Regulatory concern over many of these issues has been previously reported in this blog here, here, here and here.… Continue Reading

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 agreement on a number of more controversial issues, reflecting deep divisions among practitioners in this area.… Continue Reading

FINRA Bars Former President Of Broker-Dealer Along With Former Registered Representatives

Reflecting increased regulatory willingness to discipline principals and supervisors, FINRA recently announced that it had imposed an industry bar on the former president of a defunct broker-dealer, along with five registered representatives who likewise were barred in all capacities. FINRA also barred two former principals from continuing to act in a principal capacity and imposed … Continue Reading

DOL Open to Changing Fiduciary Proposal, But Some Press for it to be Scrapped

As we wrote about here, in April the Department of Labor issued its highly anticipated, re-proposed regulation addressing the standard of care for broker-dealers and other financial professionals who provide retirement investment advice. Since its release, the proposed rule has come under fire from critics who maintain that the DOL proposal, while well intentioned, will ultimately … Continue Reading

The Battle Lines Continue to Form Over the DOL’s Fiduciary Proposal

Earlier this month, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) released its “Proposed Best Interests of the Customer Standard for Broker-Dealers” – an alternative to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) proposed regulation addressing the standard of care for broker-dealers and other financial professionals who provide retirement investment advice.  Unlike the DOL’s proposed rule, … Continue Reading

FINRA CEO Criticizes DOL Fiduciary Proposal (Again)

Last week, Richard Ketchum, Chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), doubled-down on his recent criticism of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) proposed regulation addressing the standard of care for broker-dealers providing retirement investment advice. Speaking at FINRA’s annual conference, Chairman Ketchum said that, while he supports a “best interests of … Continue Reading

FINRA Introduces Revised Sanction Guidelines

FINRA recently released updated and revised Sanction Guidelines and an accompanying Regulatory Notice that, among other things, call for stricter penalties against broker-dealers who commit fraud or violate suitability rules. The revisions are effective as of May 12, 2015. The Sanction Guidelines, first published in 1993, are intended to assist FINRA’s adjudicators in determining the … Continue Reading

FINRA Chairman: SEC Should Lead on Uniform Fiduciary Standard

On May 1, 2015, Richard Ketchum, Chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), reaffirmed his support for a uniform fiduciary standard for broker-dealers. Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Chairman Ketchum emphasized that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) – and not the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) … Continue Reading

SEC Rule Change Would Require High-Frequency Traders to Register with FINRA

On March 25, 2015, the SEC proposed an amendment to Rule 15b9-1 that would require high-frequency trading firms to register with FINRA.  According to the SEC, the proposed amendment will better align the scope of Rule 15b9-1 with today’s market structure. Rule 15b9-1, as presently written, exempts certain market participants from the requirement under the … Continue Reading

SEC Approval of New FINRA Public Arbitrator Rule Imposes New Limits on the Pool of Potential Public Arbitrators

The SEC recently approved FINRA’s proposed new rule changes to the definitions of public arbitrator (FINRA Rules 12100(u) and 13100(u)) and non-public arbitrator (FINRA Rules 12100(p) and 13100(p)), after receiving over 300 comment letters in addition to two letters from FINRA responding to the comment letters.  The new rule significantly limits the pool of potential … Continue Reading

What Threats Can Muffle a Corporate Action? FINRA May Rely on SEC Enforcement Proceedings

In a pair of recent opinions, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) found that FINRA acted within the scope of its rules and governing statutory scheme in refusing to announce corporate actions for companies whose executives were subjects of regulatory actions alleging securities laws violations. FINRA is a self-regulatory organization (SRO) responsible for regulating the … Continue Reading

FINRA Cybersecurity Report Highlights Risks, Best Practices

On February 3, 2015, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) issued its Report on Cybersecurity Practices. Reinforcing FINRA’s emphasis on protecting investor information, the report discusses the results of a recent industry-wide cybersecurity examination and presents a list of principles and best practices to guide the industry’s cybersecurity efforts going forward. 2014 Cybersecurity Examination Last year, FINRA … Continue Reading

FINRA’s New Background Investigation Rule Will Likely Increase Firms’ Costs and Potentially Increases Exposure for Firms in Customer Disputes

Recently, the SEC approved FINRA’s proposed new Rule 3110(e) relating to background investigations of registered persons.  FINRA Rule 3110(e), which replaces NASD Rule 3010(e) and goes into effect on July 1, 2015, streamlines and clarifies the rule language by providing that “each member shall ascertain by investigation the good character, business reputation, qualifications and experience … Continue Reading

FINRA’s 2015 Examination Priorities Zero In On Abusive Trading Algorithms and Other Issues Involving Trading Technology

FINRA’s recently-released Regulatory and Examinations Priorities Letter for 2015 reflects substantial regulatory interest in high-frequency trading and other issues arising from trading technology.  Regulatory concern over these issues has been previously reported on this blog here and here. The 2015 Letter states that FINRA has adapted its surveillance program to identify potentially violative conduct such … Continue Reading

Firms Have Roadmap for Expanding Litigation of Customer Disputes After Second Circuit Holds Forum Selection Clauses Trump FINRA’s Mandatory Arbitration Rule

In the recent decision, Goldman Sachs & Co. v. Golden Empire Sch. Fin. Auth., 764 F.3d 210 (2d Cir. 2014), the Second Circuit held that nearly-identical forum selection clauses in broker-dealer agreements between the broker-dealers/underwriters of auction rate securities (“ARS”) and the public financing authorities who issued the ARS superseded the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Rules That Derivatives Counterparty Is Not A “Customer” of Broker-Dealer Under FINRA Rules

In the recent case Citigroup Global Markets Inc. v. Ghazi Abdullah Abbar, et al., 13 Civ. 2172 (2d Cir. Aug. 1, 2014), the Second Circuit held that, under FINRA rules, an investor who purchased an over-the-counter derivative from a financial institution was not a “customer” of the financial institution’s affiliated broker-dealer, notwithstanding the broker-dealer’s involvement … Continue Reading
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