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: Broker-Dealer

SEC Overrules Its Own Administrative Law Judge to Clear Customer of Fraud Charges

In a rare reversal of its own administrative law judge in the Matter of optionsXpress, the full Securities and Exchange Commission unanimously held that the SEC’s Enforcement Division had not met its burden of proof that the customer of a broker-dealer had committed securities fraud in connection with his clearing broker-dealer’s failure to deliver stock … Continue Reading

SEC Announces Settlement with Adviser Found to Have Acted as an Unregistered Broker and Engaged in Conflicted Transactions

On June 1, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced a $3.12M settlement with Maryland-based registered investment adviser, Blackstreet Capital Management, LLC, and its managing  member and principal owner, Murry N. Gunty. The SEC’s finding that Blackstreet acted as an unregistered broker-dealer in portfolio company transactions highlights the regulatory focus on broker registration for … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Broker-Dealer’s Liability For Employee’s Fraud

Will a broker-dealer be liable when a financial advisor employed by the firm solicits investments as part of a fraudulent scheme, where the firm specifically prohibited the advisor from soliciting the investment, the fraudulent investment was made away from the firm, and the investors never became customers of the firm?  The Eleventh Circuit recently answered … Continue Reading

U.S. DOL Issues Final Rule Defining Fiduciary Investment Advice

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor released its highly-anticipated Final Rule and Exemptions addressing when a person providing investment advice with respect to an employee benefit plan or individual retirement account is considered to be a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Internal Revenue Code. The new rule is … Continue Reading

CFTC Brings Enforcement Action for Swap Reporting Violations

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently brought its first enforcement action arising from the Dodd-Frank requirement that swap transactions be reported to a registered swap data repository (SDR). The CFTC has emphasized that the accuracy and completeness of swap reporting is essential to enhance market transparency, promote standardization and reduce systemic risk.… Continue Reading

SEC to Conduct Second Round of Cybersecurity Examinations

On September 15, 2015, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Risk Alert announcing its second round of examinations of registered investment advisers and broker-dealers under its cybersecurity examination initiative.… 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

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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