Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Category Archives: Defenses

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Dawn Bennett Redefines “Spirited Defense” In Her SEC Case

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, SEC
This one belongs in the “truth is stranger than fiction” category. By now, you are probably familiar with the exploits of Dawn Bennett, former hostess of her radio show, “Financial Myth Busting.” She was the one who the SEC permanently barred last year after she elected not to appear at her administrative hearing (after her… Continue Reading

FINRA Tweaks The Sanction Guidelines Again And – Guess What? – It Wasn’t To Make Them Gentler

Posted in Defenses, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions, Supervision
Remember a few weeks ago? Remember I blogged about Robert Cook, FINRA’s new CEO?  And how he was saying all the right things about FINRA perhaps being juuuuust a bit too Enforcement oriented?  I expressed hope – sincere but wary hope – that given his remarks, it was possible that the pendulum might actually start… Continue Reading

SEC ALJs, Part 3: Separation Of Power/Removal Defense Rides On Coattails Of Reinvigorated Appointments Clause Defense

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, SEC
In my second post on constitutionally-based affirmative defenses to SEC administrative proceedings, I discussed the shift of momentum in favor of the defense that the process of hiring SEC ALJs violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This post examines the defense that the process of removing SEC ALJs violates the separation of power… Continue Reading

It Can Pay To “Lawyer Up” When Dealing With FINRA

Posted in Defenses, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, Examination, FINRA, OTR, Registered Representative, Sanctions
I realize that the title of this blog post may sound self-serving, so I apologize for that up front, as it is not my intent.  Still, there is a lesson here to be learned. I got a phone call yesterday from a reporter asking me to comment on a disciplinary action that FINRA had just… Continue Reading

No Surprise Here: Courts Take Constitutional Complaints About SEC Administrative Prosecutions More Seriously Than The SEC

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, SEC
This is the first in a series of posts by my partner, Ken Berg, discussing the constitutional defenses to SEC administrative enforcement actions, which we are called upon regularly to defend. Each subsequent post will discuss one of the constitutional issues and report the current state of the law as to that defense.  Ken’s next… Continue Reading

Is There A Catch-22 To Fighting FINRA Charges?

Posted in Defenses, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Registered Representative, Sanctions
Here is a fascinating analysis by my partner, Michael Gross, of FINRA’s twisted logic when it comes to sanctions:  your very decision not to admit liability and to put FINRA to its proof can, and will, be held against you when it comes time to determine the appropriate sanctions. Or will it?  –  Alan The FINRA… Continue Reading

The First Circuit Makes The Case Against Cherry-Picking Instances Of Alleged Misrepresentations By Focusing, Instead, On “Context”

Posted in 17(a)(3), Administrative Proceedings, appeal, Defenses, Enforcement, FINRA, SEC
Years ago, I handled the defense of a FINRA Enforcement case that still galls me.  The client sent a series of emails, over many months, about a particular security to customers who already owned the stock.  The point of the emails was largely to provide updates, and, from time-to-time, to suggest that the customers consider… Continue Reading

Lost at Sea: Why FINRA’s Lack of Formal Guidance to CCOs Could Leave Them Adrift in Dangerous Regulatory Waters

Posted in Compliance, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, FINRA
In Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey, Odysseus and the crew of his ship are faced with the impossible choice of either sailing closer to Charybdis, a whirlpool capable of sinking their entire ship, or, alternatively, to Scylla, a sea monster just as deadly.  Odysseus’ dilemma sprang to mind as I listened to a presentation last… Continue Reading

What In The Wells Is Going On With FINRA’s “Wells” Process?

Posted in Defenses, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Settlements, Wells process
With any luck, you can go your entire career in the securities industry without ever participating in the dreaded “Wells process.” And that’s a good thing, as the Wells process occurs only after FINRA has completed an examination and has concluded that whatever it has encountered is so serious that a formal disciplinary action is… Continue Reading

If You’re a Respondent, Time is NOT on Your Side

Posted in Arbitration, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Registered Representative, SEC
There was a decision this week from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on an appeal of a decision by a respondent who – stop the presses! – lost an SEC administrative proceeding, and then lost his appeal to the SEC. Montford and Company, Inc. v. SEC, No. 14-1126 (July 10, 2015). One of the… Continue Reading
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