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Category Archives: Financial Institution Regulation

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Financial Institution Regulation

CFPB’s New Interest in Examining Fintechs is Likely to Mean More Naming and Shaming by the Agency

On April 25, 2022, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will begin examining nonbank “covered persons” that it has determined pose risks to consumers. The CFPB has had this authority since its inception. The Dodd-Frank Act empowered the CFPB to examine this category of nonbanks, which might include fintech firms that are… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls

Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions

RELATED UPDATE: New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) As we approach the thirty day mark since the United States, and other Western countries began imposing a series of rigorous sanctions on the Russian economy and key components thereof, we are starting to see real evidence of their broad impact. … Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Sanctions, Trade Embargo, and Export Controls

FinCEN Encourages “Increased Vigilance” and Highlights Red Flags for Evasion of Russian Sanctions including Use of Virtual Currency

RELATED UPDATES: New Revelations in Ukraine Lead to Tightening Global Sanctions (April 8, 2022) Western Companies Starting to Feel Impact of Russian Sanctions (March 24, 2022) The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued an alert encouraging all financial institutions to be “vigilant” against efforts by their customers to evade recent sanctions and other restrictions… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

2021 Brought SEC Focus on Crypto Exchanges and Lending Platforms

This past year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission followed through on its commitment to aggressively enforce securities laws in digital assets markets. As a result, it sharpened its focus on cryptocurrency exchanges and lending products. Read on for an overview and analysis of SEC activity in cryptocurrency and what to expect in 2022. About… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Department of Justice Announces National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team

On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its plans for increased scrutiny of the cryptocurrency market with the creation of a National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to pursue criminal investigations and actions against cryptocurrency misuse. The NCET will focus on “crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and… Continue Reading
Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

FINRA’s Important Reminder to Firms—Don’t Forget to Supervise Third-Party Vendors

Overview Broker-dealers, like most companies, rely on third-party vendors for a wide variety of functions.  This common practice of outsourcing does not relieve a broker-dealer of its regulatory compliance and supervision obligations over the outsourced functions.  Accordingly, management and supervision of third-party vendors present important issues that merit careful attention from regulatory, compliance, and legal… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation

Taxpayer Protection Taskforce Aims to Recover £1 billion from Business

This alert is a continuation from a March 3, 2021 post. On 3rd March 2021, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £100 million Taxpayer Protection Taskforce (Taskforce) to scrutinise claims made under Government financial business support schemes designed to help companies and individuals navigate their way through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation

Budget Launches Taskforce to Uncover Exploitation of the UK Government’s COVID-19 Financial Rescue Schemes

In today’s budget, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £100 million Taskforce to scrutinise claims made under business support schemes designed to help companies and workers navigate their way through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Taxpayer Protection Taskforce will be examining claims made honestly but in error as well as those made… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

CISA, FBI, and Treasury Issue Guidance on State Sponsored Cryptocurrency Malware Targeting Financial Institutions and Cryptocurrency Exchanges

This past week the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Department of Treasury (Treasury) released a joint advisory report on HIDDEN COBRA—the cyber threat to cryptocurrency posed by North Korea—and provided mitigation recommendations for addressing this ongoing threat. This report was issued in conjunction with the unsealing… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation

FinCEN Director Blanco Comments on Section 314(b)’s New Guidance

On December 10, 2020, FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco delivered prepared remarks at the ABA’s annual Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference. At the outset, Director Blanco addressed the importance of U.S. national security amidst the unprecedented environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In his remarks, Director Blanco announced “important guidance” and “much needed clarity” concerning FinCEN’s voluntary… 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, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

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
Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

Yet Another Mutual Fund Fee Issue or “Death by a Thousand Cuts”: FINRA Sweep of Rights of Reinstatement Waivers

What is the Issue? It may not be “death by a thousand cuts” but it may feel like it, as yet another mutual fund fee issue is being raised by the regulators. FINRA issued a “targeted examination letter” focused on Rights of Reinstatement (“RoR”) due to customers in certain mutual fund sales and purchases. RoRs… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

FCA Bans Three People From Working in Financial Services Industry, for Non-Financial Misconduct

On 5 November, the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s financial services regulator, permanently banned three men convicted of non-financial criminal offences from ever working in the financial services industry, on the basis that they do not meet criteria defining a fit and proper person. For details about this latest development and implications for the industry,… 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
Anti-Money Laundering, Financial Institution Regulation, Fraud, Deception and False Claims

FinCEN Issues Statement to Financial Institutions on BSA/AML Compliance During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released a statement to financial institutions on March 16, 2020, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement covered two main topics: Potential delays by financial institutions in filing required Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports Remaining alert to identify malicious or fraudulent transactions, which often arise during natural disasters First, FinCEN… Continue Reading
Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

SEC Continues Compensation Disclosure Focus With FAQs and Enforcement

On Oct. 18, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Investment Management staff published Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Disclosure of Certain Financial Conflicts Related to Investment Adviser Compensation (FAQs). Many in the industry view the FAQs as overdue SEC guidance in an area that has been a focus of the SEC Division of… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation

Federal Court Clarifies Prejudgment Interest Rate Applicable to Texas Securities Act Claims

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas recently clarified the applicable rate for the calculation of prejudgment interest under the Texas Securities Act (TSA). In FDIC v. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., the FDIC, acting as receiver for Guaranty Bank, brought claims against the defendant bank under the TSA stemming from the sale… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation

Ready or Not, Prepare to Start Answering Questions About Reg BI Compliance

On June 5, 2019, the SEC adopted Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”), which requires broker-dealers and associated persons to make recommendations regarding securities transactions (or investments involving securities) that are in the “best interest” of their retail clients. The SEC also adopted Form CRS, requiring broker-dealers and investment advisers to provide a brief relationship summary… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same –Joint Statement by FINRA and the SEC on the Customer Protection Rule and Digital Asset Securities

On Monday, July 8th, FINRA and the SEC took the unusual step of issuing a joint statement on broker-dealer custody of digital asset securities. In doing so, the Staffs of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets and of FINRA’s Office of General Counsel made clear that the SEC and FINRA will continue to apply… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation

SEC Adopts Regulation Best Interest

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted, by a 3-1 vote, Regulation Best Interest (“Reg BI”) which, in the words of Chairman Clayton, would “substantially enhance the broker-dealer standard of conduct beyond existing suitability obligations.” The Chairman also noted: “the standard of conduct draws from key fiduciary principles and cannot be satisfied… Continue Reading
Anti-Money Laundering, Enforcement and Prosecution Policy and Trends, Financial Institution Regulation

Suspicious Activity Monitoring and Reporting – FINRA Issues Notice Consolidating Governmental and Regulatory “Red Flag” Guidance

Enforcement actions sanctioning firms and, in a few cases, individuals for failing to investigate and report suspicious activity have been significantly on the rise. SEC, FinCEN, FINRA, and others have been active in this area, particularly with regard to trading at, by, or through the financial institution.  One critical component of a financial institution’s ability… Continue Reading
Financial Institution Regulation, Securities and Commodities

Recent New Jersey Rule Proposal Progresses State Efforts to Impose Fiduciary Duties on Brokers

On April 15, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities (the “Bureau”) issued a rule proposal to establish a uniform fiduciary duty standard applicable to investment advisers, brokers-dealers and their registered representatives and agents.  Specifically, the proposed rule (N.J.A.C. 13:47A-6.4), which could take effect as early as the end of the year, will require all investment… Continue Reading

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