When I am engaged to defend a case, whether it’s a customer arbitration or a regulatory complaint, my clients typically get to the point, sooner or later, where they ask me two questions: (1) what do I think about their chances of winning, and (2) what’s it gonna cost me.  In many matters, the answer

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

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

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