Since 2015, the SEC has brought nearly two dozen enforcement actions for violations of the whistleblower protection rules under Rule 21F-17(a) against employers for actions taken to impede reporting to the SEC. The bulk of these actions have focused on language in employee-facing agreements that allegedly discouraged such reporting.The SEC
SEC Chair Gary Gensler appears to be readying the SEC for increasing oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges, the latest in a series of regulatory actions targeting the growing industry.
In prepared remarks at PLI’s recent SEC Speaks conference, Gensler called on cryptocurrency platforms to register each function they perform with the SEC – for example, requiring crypto dealers, brokers, and lenders to separately register those functions with the SEC. Such a move could result in a dramatic shakeup in the crypto market, where there are currently several cryptocurrency platforms that perform all of these functions. This is in stark contrast to the traditional securities markets, in which such services are separated from each other.
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Examinations recently announced its examination priorities for fiscal year 2022: Private Funds; Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) Investing; Standards of Conduct; Information Security and Operational Resiliency; and Emerging Technologies and Crypto-Assets. The Division seeks to provide investors and registrants with transparency into these…
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 them as representations of regulatory 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 alleviate these concerns, including the steps FINRA will take to assess a firm’s culture of compliance.
As we reported here, in its 2016 Regulatory and Examination Priorities Letter, FINRA recently announced a new initiative to formalize FINRA’s assessments of firm culture. The need to review broker-dealers’ cultural values with respect to compliance arose in the wake of repeated compliance breakdowns that have harmed investors. Ketchum’s speech to the Brookings Institution provides additional insight into these examinations.
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.
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 registration and reporting obligations. Many of these proposals were foreshadowed in a recent speech by the CFTC Chair, which we blogged about here.
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. The SEC also imposed sanctions on Sands Brothers’ Chief Compliance Officer who was subjected to a one-year suspension and a fine for aiding and abetting these violations.