Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Tag Archives: broker-dealers

FINRA Is Going After “High-Risk” Firms, But First Has To Invent The Definition Of High-Risk

Posted in FINRA, heightened supervision, High-Risk firms, Rogue rep
I told you two weeks ago in my blog post that this would happen. I told you that when Robert Cook announced the topics to be taken up at the February/March FINRA Board meeting in Boca Raton, he slipped and used the new phrase “high-risk firms.” Well, in yesterday’s announcement about what actually took place… Continue Reading

Hope Springs Eternal

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, NCLA, SEC
My partner, Ken Berg, writes about his recent meeting with the NCLA, a group that anyone who has an administrative practice should be familiar with.  –  Alan I had the privilege of being invited to attend in Washington, D.C., on February 28, 2019, the inaugural panel discussion hosted by a relatively new nonprofit civil rights… Continue Reading

Does FINRA Have Jurisdiction Over Me?

Posted in Arbitration, FINRA
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… Continue Reading

The Securities Regulators All Have Senior-itis. Maybe For Good Reason.

Posted in FINRA, Rule 2165, Rule 4512, Senior Investors
The securities industry’s concern over the aging of the U.S. population, specifically, aging investors, has, apparently, reached a fever pitch. Yesterday in New York, SIFMA hosted its “Senior Investor Protection Conference – One Year Later: FINRA Rules 2165 and 4512,” and, for a securities conference, it received pretty extensive news coverage. I saw at least… Continue Reading

FINRA’s 529 Share Class Self-Disclosure Initiative: If It’s Good Enough For The SEC, It Must Be Good Enough For FINRA

Posted in 529 Plan, FINRA
About a year ago, the SEC offered investment advisors the unique opportunity to report themselves to the SEC if they sold mutual funds to their clients that offered a lower priced share class than the class actually selected by the advisor, but failed adequately to disclose the conflict of interest that created.  For those advisors… Continue Reading

FINRA’s 2019 Examination Priorities Letter: Beware, More Of The Same Is Coming

Posted in Compliance, Examination, FINRA, Rogue rep
In what has become an annual, but hardly exciting – I mean, it’s not like anxiously awaiting the day that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training – tradition, with the turning of the calendar to the new year, FINRA has once again released a letter announcing what it deems to be its priorities for… Continue Reading

Yes, You Can Form A Broker-Dealer Without Running Afoul Of FINRA’s Outside Business Activities Rule

Posted in FINRA, Outside business activities, Rule 3270
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… Continue Reading

The Disturbingly Cozy Relationship Between FINRA And PIABA

Posted in Arbitration, FINRA, PIABA
What exists at the point where PIABA’s transparent self-interest in getting paid and FINRA’s historical lack of transparency about who is actually driving its agenda regarding arbitrations? This: a late December decision by FINRA to propose a rule that prohibits non-lawyers from representing – for a fee – customers in arbitrations, and an even more… Continue Reading

The Real Lesson From FINRA’s 2018 Exam Findings Report

Posted in Enforcement, Examination, FINRA
On Friday last week, FINRA released a report discussing the findings from its 2018 exams, providing what it described as “selected observations” that were deemed to have “potential significance.” Even with that tepid introduction, in theory, this is still a great idea, since anyone in the industry, even so-called “good” or “clean” firms, should welcome… Continue Reading

Money Talks, And FINRA Is Listening

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions
Last year I wrote about FINRA’s effort to encourage firms to self-report their problems, pausing to wonder at the suggestion attributed to Jessica Hopper, a Senior Vice President with Enforcement, that cooperating with FINRA by self-reporting “not only fulfills a firm’s regulatory responsibilities, but it can also mean the difference between a slap on the… Continue Reading

Ameriprise Learns The Hard Lesson That To Be Deemed “Reasonable,” A Supervisory System Actually Has To Work

Posted in SEC, Supervision
A little over a year ago, I blogged about a FINRA Enforcement action against an Ameriprise rep – but, notably, not Ameriprise – to highlight what a great job the firm did in ensuring that its sales force was not engaging in any undisclosed outside business activities.  It had a robust supervisory procedure, with multiple… Continue Reading

FINRA Stats Reveal Horribly Kept Secret: Small Firms Are The Heart And Soul Of The Brokerage Industry, But Dying Off, Nevertheless

Posted in FINRA
If you are like me, and spend your idle time twiddling around the FINRA website, then you already know that FINRA publishes a variety of mathematical statistics, updated periodically, that provide, along with the sobering tally of the Enforcement actions brought and fines imposed, a good insight into the composition of the membership.  Yesterday, FINRA… Continue Reading

FINRA Proposes To Require Disclosure Of Insurance Information In Arbitrations. Seriously.

Posted in Arbitration, FINRA
Once upon a time, FINRA at least pretended that it was interested in maintaining a level playing field for claimants and respondents in the arbitrations it administers. Today, all that pretense has been jettisoned.  In Regulatory Notice 18-22, which seeks comments on FINRA’s proposal to require respondents to produce information relating to their insurance policies,… Continue Reading

BD Learns It’s Not Enough To Have A Supervisory Procedure For OBAs, You Actually Have To Follow It

Posted in Enforcement, FINRA, Outside business activities, Rule 3270, Uncategorized
In most Enforcement cases involving outside business activities, it is the registered rep who is named as the respondent, and the allegation is that the RR failed to provide notice (or timely notice) to his or her broker-dealer about the OBA. On occasion, however, it is the BD that gets tripped up, typically for not… Continue Reading

FINRA’s “Massive” Discovery Failure Results In…Absolutely Nothing

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Sanctions, Uncategorized
You are not going to believe this one. Here are the unadulterated facts, taken directly from the Order entered by the FINRA Hearing Officer (an Order, by the way, which FINRA elected not to publish on its website): Five days into an Enforcement hearing against Respondent Steven Larson, “Enforcement disclosed that it just realized it… Continue Reading

Has The SEC Taken All The Mystery Out Of Filing SARs?

Posted in AML, SAR, SEC
This week, Charles Schwab consented to pay the SEC a $2.8 million civil penalty for failing to file SARs on certain transactions – suspicious transactions, namely – by a number of independent investment advisors that Schwab had terminated from its platform. This matter is noteworthy not just for the size of the civil penalty, but because… Continue Reading
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