Alan Wolper

Alan focuses his practice exclusively on defending regulatory investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), and state securities commissioners against brokers, broker-dealers, and investment advisors. He was previously Director of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) Atlanta District Office, where he oversaw nearly 600 member firms and thousands of branch offices. Alan also served as a member of the NASD's Department of Enforcement, where he had the primary responsibility for prosecuting hundreds of formal disciplinary actions.

About a month ago, the SEC announced a settlement in a modest little case that has, nevertheless, managed to garner a lot of attention.  This is a result of the fact that one of the respondents was the CCO, i.e., the Chief Compliance Officer, of the co-respondent RIA.  Determining the particular circumstances under which CCOs

Last week I posted a blog about the dangers of not heeding findings made during a regulatory exam, at least findings of clear, undisputable compliance issues that cannot be meaningfully defended. Today I am writing to highlight a corollary rule: if one customer points out the existence of a real problem, again, a clear problem

There is no question in my mind that the quality of FINRA examiners is a bit uneven.  Some are smart and insightful and helpful; others are, well, not.  Most of the time, they do know what they’re talking about.  That means the opportunity to make legitimate arguments against exam findings can, at least sometimes, be

Well, Memorial Day is just past us, so we all know what that means: it’s time for FINRA to conduct its first annual assessment of its member firms to determine whether they should be branded a “Restricted” firm under new Rule 4111, with all the benefits and privileges appurtenant thereto.  Given that it’s pretty clear

Not too long ago, I wrote a piece complaining about (among other things) the fact that the potential arbitrators that FINRA rolled out to the parties in a particular arbitration I was handling skewed juuuuuuust a bit towards the older end of the age spectrum; indeed, the average age of the ten potential chairpersons was

Let me say at the outset that I, myself, am an old (by most people’s definition, anyway), white man.  So, selfishly, I’ve got nothing against old, white men.  But, the fact is that FINRA arbitration panels are disproportionately populated by such guys.  And I am not sure that’s a good thing for the arbitral process. 

Let’s talk about commissions today.  Or, as they are sometimes referred to, transaction based compensation.  Specifically, who can receive commissions.  Actually, that’s not phrased correctly.  The correct phrasing of this issue, courtesy of FINRA Rule 2040, would be: to whom a broker-dealer may legally pay commissions?  According to that rule, BDs can only pay

There are certain topics that broker-dealers have been encountering for decades, yet continue unnecessarily to wrestle with due to the absence of clear guidance from the regulators.  I have written about one such topic before, and that’s the fuzzy line between most outside business activities, which RRs are obliged (at a minimum) by rule to