Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Broker- Dealer Law Corner

Tag Archives: SEC

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

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

Beyond Lucia: The Supreme Court’s Decision Is Just the Beginning

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, appeal, Defenses, SEC
Here is an important post by my partner, Ken Berg, regarding SEC administrative proceedings, and what we can expect following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Lucia. – Alan By now everyone knows the US Supreme Court declared the SEC’s administrative proceedings unconstitutional because the ALJs were improperly hired by the SEC staff instead of… Continue Reading

On To SCOTUS!

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, SEC
On January 12, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the constitutionality of the SEC’s appointment of its in-house administrative law judges (“ALJs” for short). As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, a trip to SCOTUS seemed inevitable after the 10th Circuit handed down its decision in Bandimere, concluding that the SEC ALJs were… Continue Reading

Dawn Bennett Redefines “Spirited Defense” In Her SEC Case

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, SEC
This one belongs in the “truth is stranger than fiction” category. By now, you are probably familiar with the exploits of Dawn Bennett, former hostess of her radio show, “Financial Myth Busting.” She was the one who the SEC permanently barred last year after she elected not to appear at her administrative hearing (after her… Continue Reading

Ransomware In 2017: Not A Pretty Picture

Posted in Cybersecurity, FINRA, SEC
I am happy to share this post from my colleague, Greg Stein, about ransomware.  While ransomware is not something unique to the financial services industry, because, as criminal Willie Sutton famously answered when asked why he robbed banks, our industry is “where the money is,” BDs, IAs and banks do seem to attract more than their fair… Continue Reading

When It Comes To Testifying To The SEC, Providing Alternative Facts Can Be A Bad Idea

Posted in Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, Examination, FINRA, SEC
At the beginning of most FINRA OTRs, the examiner reads from a script of sorts, outlining some of the basic rules governing the proceeding. One of the things the script calls for is an express acknowledgement by the witness that he or she is testifying pursuant to Rule 8210, and that, as a result, a… Continue Reading

SEC Gives Advisors A Break On Custody Rule

Posted in custody rule, SEC
A common complaint that I hear from broker-dealers and investment advisors is that it is nearly impossible anymore to obtain informal guidance from their regulators. Where it was once possible, even normal, to make a call and get casual advice how to comply with a particularly tricky rule, nowadays, regulators routinely decline to respond to… Continue Reading

SEC ALJs, Part 3: Separation Of Power/Removal Defense Rides On Coattails Of Reinvigorated Appointments Clause Defense

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, Disciplinary Process, SEC
In my second post on constitutionally-based affirmative defenses to SEC administrative proceedings, I discussed the shift of momentum in favor of the defense that the process of hiring SEC ALJs violates the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This post examines the defense that the process of removing SEC ALJs violates the separation of power… Continue Reading

Article II Appointments Clause Defense To SEC Administrative Actions Gains Momentum In The Courts

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, appeal, Dodd Frank, SEC
Here is Part II of Ken Berg’s analysis of constitutional defenses that have been raised in response to the SEC’s increased use of administrative proceedings.  In the interest of full disclosure, note that the Malouf case referenced towards the end is one that Heidi VonderHeide and I are handling.  In addition, it also worth mentioning… Continue Reading

No Surprise Here: Courts Take Constitutional Complaints About SEC Administrative Prosecutions More Seriously Than The SEC

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Defenses, SEC
This is the first in a series of posts by my partner, Ken Berg, discussing the constitutional defenses to SEC administrative enforcement actions, which we are called upon regularly to defend. Each subsequent post will discuss one of the constitutional issues and report the current state of the law as to that defense.  Ken’s next… Continue Reading

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know: OCIE’s Tips To Surviving An SEC IA Exam

Posted in Examination, RIA, SEC
Let’s chalk this one up to “great minds think alike,” or maybe just “minds think alike.” You may recall that in his recent letter to member firms that accompanied FINRA’s 2017 Exam Priorities Letter, FINRA CEO Robert Cook said, “starting this year, we will publish a summary report that outlines key findings from examinations in… Continue Reading

2017 Off To A Bad Start For The SEC As The 10th Circuit Finds SEC ALJs To Be Unconstitutional

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, SEC
Many industry authors – including me[1] – have devoted a lot of attention lately to the SEC’s increased use of Administrative Proceedings (rather than Federal court cases) in recent years, and questioned the fairness of such proceedings, given their relative lack of discovery tools, the short timeframe provided within which to prepare a case for… Continue Reading

Looking For A Silver Lining: Post-Election Thoughts On The SEC

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, appeal, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, SEC
Wednesday morning marked the confluence of two events. First, like the rest of the world, I awoke to the reality of the results of the presidential race.  Then, as soon as I got to the office, I received the results of a case (on which I have previously blogged) that the SEC’s Division of Enforcement… Continue Reading

It’s Official: The SEC Has No Sense Of Humor

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, SEC
One of my colleagues and I were busy the last two week defending an SEC administrative proceeding out-of-town, so I have not had much chance to blog. But…there was one development during our hearing that merits some immediate attention. My client has been accused, essentially, of making a number of material misrepresentations and omissions in… Continue Reading

In AML World, The Need To File A SAR Can, Apparently, Be Too Obvious To Ignore

Posted in AML, Compliance, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, SEC, Supervision
If you’re reading this, then you undoubtedly already know that FINRA and SEC are, simply, AML crazy. Rightly or wrongly, they are both focusing more than ever on broker-dealers’ fulfillment of their supervisory obligation to be sensitive to the laundry list of red flags first articulated in a Notice to Members back in 2002 that… Continue Reading

Updates: Two Losers + One Positive Note = A Bad Week For Broker-Dealers

Posted in Administrative Proceedings, appeal, Disciplinary Process, Enforcement, FINRA, Research analyst, Rule 2242, Rule 2711, SEC
There have been some developments this week in a few matters on which I have previously offered my views. To help you stay on the cutting edge of financial world current events as you mingle at your upcoming Cinco de Mayo fiestas, here are three updates.  Two, not surprisingly, represent wins for the regulators.  The… Continue Reading

Not So Naked And Not So Afraid: FINRA’s New Compensation Rule Does Not Require Brokers To Bare All (Financially) When Changing Firms

Posted in Compensation, Compliance, Disclosure, FINRA, Hiring practices, Rule 2272
Two years ago, FINRA first proposed to the SEC a rule that would require brokers to disclose to clients not only when they receive compensation (including signing bonuses and other payments) to switch from one broker-dealer to another, but, worse, the amount of that compensation. The industry was seriously not pleased with the rule.  FINRA,… Continue Reading

Highlights from Day Two of SIFMA-CL Conference

Posted in AML, CCO, CCO liability, Compliance, Culture, FINRA, Senior Investors, SIFMA
The Rick Ketchum Show. Today’s sessions opened with what was likely the highlight of the entire conference, Rick Ketchum’s swan song “conversation” with Ira Hammerman, GC of SIFMA, before he toddles off into retirement. Granted, these interviews never remotely approach Sixty Minutes intensity, but this year’s featured even more coddling than ever: What would you… Continue Reading

Highlights from Day One of SIFMA-CL Conference

Posted in Best execution, CCO liability, Culture, Fiduciary duty, Fiduciary Standard, FINRA, municipal securities, SEC, SIFMA, Supervision
Opening Session/Firm Culture/CCO Liability. If you are reading this blog, then you, like me, have been probably eagerly waiting for the start of SIFMA’s annual Compliance and Legal conference not just for the jumbo shrimp at the reception, but also to learn some insights from the regulators about their concerns and intentions. If you attended… Continue Reading
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