Category Archives: Compliance

Sleuthing Through State Elder Financial Exploitation Laws— A Morass for Broker-Dealers

The issues for broker-dealers are complicated because a good deal of research (or sleuthing) needs to be undertaken to grasp the breadth of potential liability a broker-dealer may face for not reacting to an indication of senior exploitation among the broker-dealer’s client base. This is an area where red flags mean everything and consistency in the law is a goal still to be achieved. In short, each state endeavors to protect its elderly and vulnerable populations from financial exploitation in its own unique way. A broker-dealer cannot wait until a particular case of potential financial exploitation presents itself; the complexity of determining the broker-dealer’s obligations under state law, if not researched in advance, could cause a broker-dealer to unwittingly expose itself to civil and/or criminal liability.

Read More Here

Additional contributors to this post:

Holly H. Smith,  hollysmith@eversheds-sutherland.com

The Final Rule: June 9 is the Launch Date After All

With its announcements of May 22, 2017, starting with an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, the Department of Labor confirmed that, absent last-minute action in the courts or by Congress, its new “investment advice” fiduciary definition and related exemptions will become applicable on June 9, on the terms specified on April 4. DOL also updated its stated enforcement policy for 2017 and released a third set of FAQs, which primarily address transition period issues.

Read More Here

Additional contributor to this post:

W. Mark Smithmarksmith@eversheds-sutherland.com

FINRA Publishes New Guidance on Social Networking Websites and the Application of Rule 2210

In Regulatory Notice 17-18, FINRA provided additional guidance, in the form of 12 FAQs, on its earlier regulatory notices relating to the use of social media and the application of FINRA Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public). Specifically, the FAQs expand on the areas of recordkeeping, third-party posts and the use of hyperlinks to third-party sites. FINRA acknowledged that the use of social media and digital communications has expanded in the time since the last regulatory notice on the use of social media by member firms, which was in Regulatory Notice 11-29 in 2011.

Read More Here

Additional contributor to this post:

Bradley Bermanbberman@mofo.com

A Trio of FINRA Notices Focused on Capital Formation Issues

On April 12, 2017, FINRA released three regulatory notices for comment that propose amendments to various FINRA rules affecting capital formation. In connection with its release of the notices, FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook noted FINRA’s continuing commitment to assessing its regulations and their role in facilitating capital formation. This initiative is part of the comprehensive self-evaluation and improvement initiative that FINRA announced several months ago called the FINRA 360 initiative. The initiative, FINRA’s recent request for comment on its engagement efforts, and these regulatory notices certainly reflect a new tone. In all three notices, as discussed further below, FINRA specifically requests that commenters address the economic impacts of the rules, including costs and benefits, and the specific effects on the capital formation process.

Read More Here

Additional contributors to this post:

Hillel T. Cohnhcohn@mofo.com

Lloyd S. Harmetzlharmetz@mofo.com

Caveat Compliance: Can Firms Rely on Advice Received from Compliance Consultants?

Broker-dealers (BDs) and investment advisers (IAs) regularly hire compliance consultants to obtain advice about regulatory requirements. A recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) enforcement proceeding against an investment adviser (IA) calls into question whether firms may rely on compliance consultants as a defense to violating the law.  However, if firms take proper steps, BDs and IAs may still be able to retain consultants and defend themselves based on the advice they receive. Otherwise, “caveat emptor” (as the saying goes) or “caveat compliance” (as the SEC seems to be saying).

Read More Here

Additional contributors to this post:

Brian L. Rubinbrianrubin@eversheds-sutherland.com

Rebekah R. Runyonrebekahrunyon@eversheds-sutherland.com