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Category Archives: Compliance

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Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends

New Due Process Protection Act Amends Criminal Rule 5, May Strengthen Defendants’ Brady Rights

A new law will require all federal judges to enter an order at the beginning of every criminal case advising prosecutors of their duties under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense. Intentional violations of the orders could subject prosecutors to stern sanctions – up to and including… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Another Cop on the Beat? CFP Board Signals Increased Enforcement Focus

Financial advisors have long used the Certified Financial Planner designation as an indicator to potential clients that they meet high standards of professionalism and ethics within their field.  The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (the “CFP Board”), which grants the designation, markets it as demonstrating that its holder meets strict ethical standards.  Yet… Continue Reading
Compliance, Securities and Commodities

Pitfalls to Avoid in Investment Adviser Compliance Programs: SEC OCIE Risk Alert

On November 19, 2020, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) issued a risk alert, OCIE Observations: Investment Adviser Compliance Programs, to provide the industry with insights regarding their findings in their examinations relating to Rule 206(4)-7 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”) or the Compliance Rule.… Continue Reading
Compliance, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities, Uncategorized

OCIE Finds Supervision Failures at Multiple-Branch Office Investment Advisers

On November 9, 2020, the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) announced the results of its examination of nearly 40 SEC-registered investment advisers that operate multiple branch offices (the “Risk Alert”). Most of the firms examined conducted their advisory business out of at least 10 branch offices. OCIE observed a wide range of… Continue Reading
Compliance, Securities and Commodities

2020 NASAA Fintech and Cyber Security Symposium – A Download of Key Comments

On October 27, the North American Securities Administrators Association[1] held its 2020 symposium on Fintech and Cybersecurity. A key theme of the symposium was the impact that the pandemic has had on fintech, cybersecurity, and regulating the financial markets  –  given that regulators and securities industry professionals are largely working from home. The panelists also… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Securities and Commodities

The SEC Speaks 2020: Enforcement Panel Signals Full Speed Ahead Regardless of the Pandemic

Senior officials from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement convened at a virtual The SEC Speaks conference panel to discuss fiscal year 2020 enforcement results and report on enforcement priorities. To no one’s surprise, the impact of the pandemic on enforcement was a significant part of the discussion. Read our alert for… Continue Reading
Compliance

Congressional Investigations: A Month In, Congress Signals Close Scrutiny of CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act is only a month old, but plans for investigations to track the nearly $3 trillion in coronavirus relief funds are already emerging from Congress. Among the mechanisms for oversight created and funded by the CARES Act itself is the Congressional Oversight Commission, a five-member committee overseeing $500 billion in loans doled out… Continue Reading
Compliance

DOJ Puts Collection of Civil Penalties on Hold in Response to COVID-19

In a pair of recent memoranda from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (“EOUSA”) issued on March 31, 2020, and April 13, 2020, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has effectively halted enforcement actions and the collection of civil penalties.  Included in this temporary suspension is the collection of civil penalties incurred in… Continue Reading
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

Update: Our May 21, 2020, alert provides our most recent discussion of information and guidance issued by the SEC, FINRA, MSRB and SIFMA. 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… 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

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