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 auditors. 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.

Happy New Year!  I hope you had an enjoyable holiday season.  At least happier than that of JP Morgan Securities, which, right before Christmas, got to write checks to the SEC and the CFTC totaling $200 million.  That’s a lot, even for JPMS.  How did this happen?

Well, the story starts with a very old,

My job frequently requires that I explain to someone – whether my client, an ALJ, an arbitration panel, even a regulator – the fundamental difference between a broker-dealer and an investment advisor.  An IA operates pursuant to a fiduciary duty; a BD, on the other hand, even with the advent of Regulation BI, largely has

I am still catching up on things that happened over the last couple of months, as I dig myself out of the hole created by (finally) completing a 39-day FINRA arbitration (SOC filed in 2014, hearing started in 2019). Truthfully, it seems there’s been a lot of the usual.  You know, FINRA taking formal disciplinary

Not too long ago, a single, small BD experienced a bizarre combination of regulatory overzealousness and regulatory indifference, by the SEC and FINRA, respectively.  These things, sadly, happen all the time, but what happened to this unfortunate firm presents an excellent case study in regulators who simply do not wield their considerable prosecutorial discretion in

Most securities regulations, by design, create a gray world where compliance is not crystal-clear, but, rather, subject to interpretation.  After all, what you think constitutes “reasonable” supervision and what FINRA or the SEC think is reasonable may very well be two extremely different things.  Indeed, it is the existence of subjective standards of conduct like

FINRA Enforcement has often been accused (again, admittedly, by me, and not too infrequently) of going after the “low-hanging fruit,” that is, taking the easy case when it presents itself.  Putting aside the question whether this observation is accurate or not – for what it’s worth, I think the answer is that it is often,

So I spent last week – the whole week – doing an arbitration with JAMS.  It involved some of the typical elements of a FINRA claim, e.g., allegations of the sale of an unregistered security, of an “investment” gone bad, of misrepresentations and omissions in connection with the “sale” of that “investment,” but for reasons

I am writing this while flying home from my first business trip in over 15 months.  I have to tell you, it is more than a bit of a strange feeling to be out and among people again.  While my face is sore from wearing this N95 mask nearly non-stop for three days, my hands