United States

Topic: Brokers and Intermediaries

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US financial regulators establish webpages on the COVID-19 pandemic

The US financial regulatory, consumer protection and enforcement supervisors are regularly issuing press releases and statements concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of them has established special links to provide information to the public on its response to the pandemic. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System: https://www.federalreserve.gov/covid-19.htm Commodity Futures Trading Commission: https://www.cftc.gov/coronavirus Conference of State … Continue Reading

FINRA Updates FAQs Related to COVID-19 Regulatory Relief

FINRA has supplemented its FAQs related to COVID-19 regulatory relief. Summaries of the new FAQs are provided below. Helpfully, FINRA has also provided a link to state “shelter-in-place” and “stay-at-home” orders. Impact of Communication Disruptions – Implications for Firms. FINRA states that member firms should consider steps they can take to mitigate risks that may … Continue Reading

FINRA’s Guidance to Broker-Dealers on Pandemic Preparedness (coronavirus, COVID-19)

In light of mounting concerns about COVID-19, aka the coronavirus, FINRA recently published FINRA Regulatory Notice 20-08 – Pandemic-Related Business Continuity Planning, Guidance and Regulatory Relief. Notice 20-08 provides both guidance on pandemic preparedness and regulatory relief to impacted member firms. Notice 20-08 supplements previous guidance on pandemic preparedness that FINRA published in October 2009 … Continue Reading

FINRA (and selected SEC) regulatory matters at a glance: What compliance officers need to know

Glen Barrentine is Of Counsel in the New York office of Norton Rose Fulbright. His practice focuses broadly on SEC regulated financial service clients, including broker-dealers, securities exchanges, municipal advisors and investment advisers. Glen frequency represents clients in connection with SEC and FINRA enforcement proceedings and other contentious regulatory inquiries, purchases and sales, and the preparation … Continue Reading

“Crypto Mom” Proposes 3-Year Safe Harbor for Token Projects

In a speech to the International Blockchain Congress on February 6, 2020, Securities and Exchange (“SEC”) Commissioner Hester Peirce, sometime referred to as “Crypto Mom,” proposed a three-year safe harbor for virtual currency token projects.  The safe harbor would exempt (i) the offer and sale of tokens from the provisions of the Securities Act of … Continue Reading

FINRA (and selected SEC) regulatory matters at a glance: What compliance officers need to know

Glen Barrentine is Of Counsel in the New York office of Norton Rose Fulbright. His practice focuses broadly on SEC regulated financial service clients, including broker-dealers, securities exchanges, municipal advisors and investment advisers. Glen frequency represents clients in connection with SEC and FINRA enforcement proceedings and other contentious regulatory inquiries, purchases and sales, and the preparation … Continue Reading

SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Issues Observations on Cybersecurity and Resiliency

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) shared observations from “thousands” of examinations on industry practices and approaches to managing and combating cybersecurity risk and the maintenance and enhancement of operational resiliency (the “Report”). The Report organizes its observations under seven categories consisting of: governance and risk management access … Continue Reading

FINRA issues its 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter

Earlier this month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) released its annual Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter (“Priorities Letter”). This year’s letter includes several new features that are intended to “support” firms in their “significant efforts” to comply with applicable rules. Specifically, each highlighted topic includes a list of practical considerations and questions … Continue Reading

SEC Issues FAQ on Regulation “Best Interest”

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Trading and Markets published responses to frequently asked questions that it has received on Regulation Best Interest (the “Reg. BI FAQ”). Regulation Best Interest (Securities Exchange Act Rule 15l-1) becomes effective June 30, 2020, and imposes a number of obligations on broker-dealers and natural persons associated with … Continue Reading

A Broker-Dealer Perspective on OCIE’s 2020 Examination Priorities

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) published its annual Examination Priorities report (the “Priorities Report”). As the name suggests, the Priorities Report outlines OCIE’s examination priorities for the coming year and is a must read for all registrants overseen by OCIE, including broker-dealers, registered advisers, municipal advisors, transfer … Continue Reading

Three US Agencies issue joint statement on activities involving digital assets

On October 11, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the US anti-money laundering (AML) agency, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued a joint statement on digital assets activities (“Statement”), reminding the businesses under their jurisdictions that digital assets activities may be … Continue Reading

Latest issue of Global Asset Management Quarterly now available

Issue 12 of the Norton Rose Fulbright Global Asset Management Quarterly is now available. You can also register to automatically receive each issue as it is released. This publication highlights key developments that will be of interest to, and affect, our asset management clients, including market trends and developments in tax and buy-side regulation globally. … Continue Reading

New monthly securities regulatory publication now available

Glen Barrentine, who recently joined as Of Counsel in the New York Office of Norton Rose Fulbright, has extensive experience in regulatory, compliance and enforcement issues affecting financial service companies, particularly broker-dealers, investment advisers, municipal advisors, and securities exchanges. He prepares a monthly update on FINRA (and selected SEC) regulatory matters at a glance, focusing … Continue Reading

SEC and FINRA address digital asset custody issues

The unique manner in which digital asset securities are issued, held and transferred makes them inevitably prone to unique concerns compared to traditional securities. As expected, these concerns have triggered conversation among market participants regarding whether and how traditional federal securities laws apply to novel digital asset securities and transactions. On July 8, 2019, the … Continue Reading

SEC Adopts Regulation Best Interest Increasing Broker-Dealer Standards of Care and Disclosure Obligations

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced it had adopted a number of rulemakings and interpretations aimed at tightening the standards of care governing broker-dealers and investment advisers and clarifying the duties of broker-dealers and investment advisers in providing investment advice. Rulemaking The SEC issued two final rules: (i) the new … Continue Reading

SEC Urges Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisors to Evaluate their Cloud-Based Storage Security Settings

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) recently noted that ineffective practices, policies, and procedures governing the use of third party cloud-based storage platforms could result in compliance issues under Regulations S-P (Safeguards Rule) and S-ID (Identity Theft Red Flag Rule). As a result, OCIE has issued a Risk … Continue Reading

No news is good news? The SEC may be undermining innovation in FinTech

On May 9, 2019, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce delivered a speech at the Securities Enforcement Forum in East Palo Alto, California, discussing the SEC’s impact on the FinTech space and growth of the digital asset industry. Commissioner Peirce admitted her prior prediction, that the SEC would discourage the industry’s growth through hurried regulation and overenthusiastic … Continue Reading

Latest issue of Global Asset Management Quarterly now available

Issue 11 of our Global Asset Management Quarterly is now available. You can also register to automatically receive each issue as it is released. This publication highlights key developments that will be of interest to, and affect, our asset management clients, including market trends and developments in tax and buy-side regulation globally. Articles on US … Continue Reading

Broker-dealers can continue to rely on investment advisers for customer KYC requirements

In a December 12, 2018, letter to a US trade association with members that include broker-dealers in securities (“broker-dealers”), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) extended its no-action relief to broker-dealers who wish to rely on investment advisers to perform the broker-dealer’s obligations under US federal anti-money laundering (“AML”) customer identification program and beneficial … Continue Reading

FINRA to examine member firms’ digital assets activities for compliance with securities laws

On January 22, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) released its 2019 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter (Regulatory Notice No. 18-20) in which it identifies topics FINRA will focus on in the coming year. FINRA indicates that this year the securities self-regulatory organization will review “firms’ activities through its membership and examination process … Continue Reading

Impact of partial US government shutdown on federal financial regulatory agencies

As a result of the United States Congress not adopting an appropriations bill or a continuing resolution to fund specific government departments, agencies or functions, certain federal agencies are currently subject to a partial government shutdown. Below is an overview of how the partial federal government shutdown is affecting financial or other major regulatory agencies: … Continue Reading

SEC adopts new Form ATS-N and amendments to Regulation ATS to increase transparency and oversight of alternative trading systems

On July 18, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) voted to adopt amendments to Regulation ATS that impose additional public disclosure requirements on, and enhance the SEC’s oversight of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”) that facilitate transactions in National Market System stocks (“NMS Stock ATSs”). Regulation ATS, adopted in 1998, established a regulatory framework intended … Continue Reading

More guidance on the new FinCEN “beneficial ownership” rule

In May 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the U.S. agency tasked with issuing anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, issued a final rule requiring that certain categories of financial institutions identify the beneficial owners of their legal entity customers and incorporate customer due diligence procedures into their required AML compliance programs. The regulation was effective … Continue Reading

SEC provides some relief in connection with MiFID II research payment requirements

Europe’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), effective  January 3, 2018, makes a number of important regulatory changes concerning the delivery of financial services and products. A number of these changes have an extraterritorial element that can have a significant impact on US firms. A particularly contentious area has been how European Union … Continue Reading
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