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: Compliance

Second Circuit Rejects Securities Claims Based on Generic Statements About Ethics and Compliance

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday affirmed the dismissal of a securities class action alleging misrepresentations arising from generalized statements about an issuer’s compliance efforts and Code of Ethics. The decision in Singh v. Cigna Corporation held that such generic statements are not material because a reasonable investor could not have relied on … 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

CFTC Proposes New Regulations For Algorithmic Trading

On November 24, 2015, the CFTC announced the new proposed Regulation Automated Trading (“Reg. AT”), which contains a variety of measures designed to prevent potential market disruptions arising from algorithmic trading.   Among other things, Reg. AT proposes certain pre-trade risk and order management controls, the implementation of policies and procedures governing algorithmic trading, and additional … Continue Reading

SEC Once Again Sanctions The CCO of An Investment Advisory Firm

On November 19, 2015, the SEC announced a settlement with investment advisory firm Sands Brothers Asset Management, LLC for violating the Custody Rule, SEC Rule 206(4)-2, which requires that registered investment advisers who have custody of their clients’ assets put in place policies and procedures intended to safeguard those assets against loss, misuse or misappropriation. … Continue Reading

Coding Errors Lead To SEC Sanctions for High-Frequency Trading Firm

Mistakes in computer coding by a high frequency trading firm that went undetected for approximately four years were responsible for approximately 12.6 million orders that violated Reg NMS, according to an Order settling an enforcement proceeding with Latour Trading LLC, announced by the SEC on September 30.  These noncompliant orders involved more than $4.6 billion … 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

SEC Awards Compliance Officer Whistleblower Bounty of Approximately $1.5 Million

Earlier today, the SEC announced that it would pay an unidentified compliance officer a whistleblower bounty award of between $1.4 and $1.6 million.   This is the second award that the SEC has made to a whistleblower with internal audit or compliance responsibilities.  According to the SEC, the recipient of the bounty award “had a reasonable … Continue Reading

First SEC Whistleblower Award To Former Company Officer

On March 2, 2015, the SEC announced  an expected award of $475,000 to $575,000 to a former company officer “who reported original, high-quality information about a securities fraud that resulted in an SEC enforcement action with sanctions exceeding $1 million.”  The officer reported information to the SEC more than 120 days after other responsible compliance personnel … Continue Reading

OCC No Longer Issuing Anti-Money Laundering Recommendations

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) examiners stated on Monday that they will no longer make recommendations on how banks can better comply with anti-money laundering (“AML”) regulations.  Rather, the policy change designates all AML problems either as matters requiring attention or as violations of law.  Thus, all AML problems could see enforcement … Continue Reading

Don’t Get Burned by the “Sunshine:” Risk Factors for Venture Capital Firms in an Era of Increasing SEC Scrutiny

Originally published in the Venture Capital Review, 2014 edition.   Andrew J. Bowden, the Director of the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, gave a speech entitled “Spreading Sunshine in Private Equity” in May 2014. While sounding cheery, the “spreading sunshine” metaphor was an ironic evocation of Justice Brandeis’s famous statement that “sunlight is … Continue Reading

AAG Caldwell Provides Guidance on Adequate Compliance Programs

Recently confirmed Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division, Leslie Caldwell, has laid out her views as to what comprises the “hallmarks of good compliance programs.” In her new position, AAG Caldwell will repeatedly be in the position to decide whether corporate compliance programs are sufficient when making charging and settlement … Continue Reading
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