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Category Archives: Compliance

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Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

SEC Enforcement Co-Directors Issue Statement on Insider Trading

Under the leadership of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement has made the protection of Main Street investors its overarching priority.  On March 23, 2020, Division of Enforcement Co-Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin issued a statement to financial market participants re-emphasizing the SEC’s commitment to safeguard the… Continue Reading
Compliance, Securities and Commodities

COVID-19: Securities Regulators and Industry Associations Issue Coronavirus Guidance and Relief

As the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, continues to spread, the widespread impact on the markets, trading, firm operations, compliance obligations – every facet of the market, firms, and individuals working in the industry and customers are affected. Securities regulators and industry associations are racing to issue guidance, relief, and information to assist the industry. This post… Continue Reading
Compliance, Energy Enforcement

FERC Directs NERC to Amend its Sanctions Guidelines by July 21, 2020

Entities registered with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to comply with mandatory electric reliability standards (Reliability Standards) or face civil penalties should take note of an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on January 23, 2020 in Docket No. RR19-7-000 (January 23 Order).  In the January 23 Order, FERC, which oversees NERC… Continue Reading
Compliance, Securities and Commodities

FINRA 2.0: FINRA Releases Its 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities

FINRA’s examination program has undergone its most significant reorganization in decades. As stated in a press release, Oct. 1, 2018, FINRA’s goal for the reorganization was to “consolidate its Examination and Risk Monitoring Programs, integrating three separate programs into a single, unified program to drive more effective oversight and greater consistency, eliminate duplication and create… Continue Reading
Compliance, Securities and Commodities

SEC 2020 National Exam Program Examination Priorities

On January 7, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) released its 2020 examination priorities.  OCIE is prioritizing practices, products, and services that it believes present heightened risks to investors or market integrity.  The examination priorities are organized around seven themes, many of which build on OCIE’s priorities from… Continue Reading
Compliance

North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) Releases Model Cybersecurity Rule

On May 21, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)—an organization comprised of 67 securities regulators within the United States (all fifty states as well as districts and territories), Canada, and Mexico—released a model cybersecurity rule package governing state-registered investment advisors’ cybersecurity and privacy practices.  The model rule package, which would need to be adopted… Continue Reading
Compliance

Positive FCA Enforcement Trend for Defense Contractors: DOJ Reaffirms Commitment to Exercise Statutory Authority to Dismiss

Following recent changes to Department of Justice policy regarding individual accountability in government investigations of corporate wrongdoing, DOJ has recently further demonstrated its willingness to consider a flexible approach in applying the False Claims Act. In a January 28, 2019 speech by Deputy Associate Attorney General Stephen Cox to the 2019 Advanced Forum on False Claims… Continue Reading
Compliance

New Rules for Small Business Government Contractors

On Dec. 17, 2018, President Trump signed the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018 into law. It amends § 3(a)(2)(C)(i)(II) of the Small Business Act “by striking ‘3 years’ and inserting ‘5 years,’” so a contractor’s size will be measured by the annual average of its previous five years’ revenue, instead of the annual… Continue Reading
Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation

CFPB Announces Intent to Reconsider Disclosure Rule

On December 21, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a public statement regarding implementation of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), noting that it plans to reconsider aspects of the mortgage data rule. The HMDA, enacted in 1975, requires many lenders to report information concerning applications they receive for particular mortgage loans and… Continue Reading
Compliance

Pending U.S. Supreme Court Case Could Impact Judicial Deference to Agency Rulemaking

A petition for certiorari pending before the U.S. Supreme Court has the potential to narrow the application of Chevron deference to agency rulemaking.  Under Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, a 1984 Supreme Court case that is widely considered a foundational case in administrative law, courts interpreting an ambiguous provision of a federal statute… Continue Reading
Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation

CFPB Provides Updated Guidance Related to Loan Forgiveness Program

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provided updated guidance for supervisory examinations of student loan servicers.  Richard Cordray, the Director of the CFPB, gave prepared remarks in Washington D.C.  He explained his concerns related to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and how certain practices may be delaying or denying… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Uncategorized

Proposed Rules Aimed at High-Risk Brokers Confirm FINRA Push for Firms to “Do Their Part”

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) President and CEO Robert Cook spoke earlier this month at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he outlined several proposals to further what he called one of FINRA’s “most important purposes”—“to protect investors from bad actors.”  Taking aim at “those who seek to evade regulatory requirements and harm investors… Continue Reading
Compliance, Election and Political Law

Congress Votes to Disapprove SEC’s Resource Extraction Disclosure Rule

In previous posts, we discussed the potential impact of the SEC’s Resource Extraction Payment Disclosure (Rule 13q-1), including possible FCPA implications and the development of an appropriate compliance plan. After the election, much attention has been given by Congress to the so-called “midnight” agency rules that were adopted in the final months of the Obama… Continue Reading
Compliance, Securities and Commodities

SEC Annual Exam Guidance: Cybersecurity, Robo-Advising, and Retirement

The SEC recently announced its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations’ (OCIE) 2017 priorities.  Though these listed priorities are not exhaustive and remain flexible in light of market conditions, industry developments, and ongoing risk assessment, it is helpful for companies to keep these items in mind when evaluating securities compliance programs in 2017. The 2017… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

SEC: $7 Million Award to be Split by Three Whistleblowers

On Monday, January 23, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded more than $7 million to be split among three whistleblowers.  The three individuals helped the SEC in its investigation and prosecution of an investment scheme. The identity of whistleblowers is protected by law however, the SEC did disclose that the primary whistleblower will… Continue Reading
Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation

CFPB’s 2017 Fair Lending Priorities

The CFPB recently issued its Fair Lending Priorities for 2017.  According to its December blog post, the CFPB plans to increase its focus on the following three areas, which it describes as “presenting a substantial risk of credit discrimination for consumers.” Redlining: The CFPB “will continue to evaluate whether lenders have intentionally avoided lending in… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Compliance

FinCEN Opens 2017 with SAR Sharing Guidance for Casinos

Financial institutions’ ability to share suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) within the corporate organizational structure serves as an important tool for Bank Secrecy Act compliance and risk avoidance.  FinCEN began 2017 by reminding casinos of their ability to share information under this rule. Subject to certain limitations, casinos may share with domestic parents and affiliates suspicious… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Companies Challenge CFPB’s Authority to Issue Civil Investigative Demands

As any company that has received a civil investigative demand (CID) from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) knows, the Bureau’s authority to issue CIDs is a powerful tool that leaves recipients with limited options to challenge or limit their compliance obligations.  Recently, the CFPB has fought back against CID challenges, asking two federal district… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

In Data Privacy, Don’t Forget the State Attorneys General

State attorneys general play an active role in data privacy and security matters. Their involvement is increasing as they grapple with changing technologies and threats, rapidly evolving state laws and their relatively broad consumer protection authority to engage private sector custodians of personal data such as retailers, financial institutions, technology companies, and health systems. In… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

The U.S. Department of Justice is Ramping Up its Enforcement of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Think you are in compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act?  Now would be a good time to make sure since the federal government is increasing its enforcement efforts as part of its Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that provides a wide range of protections to… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

The Yates Memo and Individual Representation

At the November 2, 2016 Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”) Compliance and Legal Society Regional Seminar in New York, a SIFMA panel discussed the “Yates Memo,” its effect on internal investigations, and considerations regarding individual representation. The Yates Memo is a September 9, 2015 memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to… Continue Reading
Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation

Tuesday’s GOP Wins May Put the Brakes on the CFPB’s Controversial Oversight of Auto Lending

The CFPB’s imposition of its auto lending guidelines, and use of its admittedly flawed proxy-methodology to determine discriminatory lending in auto finance, may come to an end under the GOP controlled White House and Senate. The CFPB’s current guidance, published in a March 2013 Bulletin, has been largely criticized as limiting competition and increasing interest… Continue Reading
Compliance, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

Department of Education Adopts Rules Increasing Student Loan Risk for Schools

As we previously reported, in June the Department of Education (DOE) proposed new rules relating to when students could assert a borrower defense to repayment, effectively a discharge of student loans.  On November 1, DOE adopted the rules in substantially the same form they were proposed. In commentary, DOE observes that the former borrower defense… Continue Reading

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