Michael’s practice focuses on the representation of broker-dealers, investment advisors, and registered persons operating in the financial services industry. Formerly a senior attorney at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Michael provides his clients with a 360-degree view of the complex regulatory landscape and challenges that impact their businesses on a day-to-day basis, and he works proactively to help clients avoid regulatory issues, customer complaints, and other costly matters. He has significant experience representing clients in disciplinary proceedings and arbitrations, including disciplinary hearings before FINRA’s Office of Hearing Officers (OHO). Michael has successfully represented clients in cases involving a wide variety of issues, including fraud, anti-money laundering (AML), sales of unregistered securities, excessive mark-ups, unsuitability, churning, disclosures, licensing, registration, records retention, and supervision.

Does FINRA have jurisdiction over me? This is a question that I regularly field at the outset of regulatory engagements. My answer differs depending on a number of factors, including the nature of a person’s role and duties at a firm, his or her registration status, when the alleged misconduct occurred, whether he or she

It is not a wise career move for a registered rep to leave his broker-dealer – thereby abandoning his customers, and affording competitors the opportunity to make his customers their own – and then to begin the long, expensive, and uncertain process of forming a FINRA-registered broker-dealer. Common sense, principles of fundamental fairness, and good

As loyal readers are undoubtedly already aware, I used to work for NASD, and Michael more recently came to Ulmer from FINRA.  That hardly means we win every FINRA Enforcement case we are engaged to defend.  To suggest that because we came through the “revolving door,” FINRA does whatever we suggest is, frankly, absurd.  I

I have spoken about FINRA possibly putting an end to the policy of pursuing cases where formal disciplinary action serves little to no regulatory purpose. That welcome paradigm shift may be upon us.

This year, FINRA, in essence, pronounced that its “broken windows” strategy of pursuing Enforcement cases over the smallest and most technical violations

Here is a really interesting post from Michael regarding those potentially uncomfortable moments when FINRA calls non-complaining customers.  Because FINRA is not the government, it has no subpoena power over these people, and so needs them to cooperate voluntarily.  The problem is that FINRA does an awful job of informing non-complaining customers that they are

Michael discusses the differences in examiners — and, potentially — examination results from District Office to District Office.  Remember, however, that such differences aren’t supposed to exist!  That’s why the Office of Disciplinary Affairs exists.  I suppose the question is whether the ODA is doing its appointed task of achieving consistency throughout FINRA. – Alan

Here is a very interesting post from Michael Gross about what happens at the end of a FINRA exam.  One point that he omitted, but worth mentioning, is that in the event FINRA does issue a close-out letter stating that its exam is done and no disciplinary action will be taken, that letter cannot be

My dissatisfaction with FINRA’s Rule 8210 and, more specifically, the aggressive manner with which FINRA wields that rule, has been the subject of several prior blogs.  I happy to report that my partner, Michael Gross, has drunk the Kool-Aid, and joined me in tilting at this windmill.  – Alan

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